Cardinal Health Inc. Earnings Cheat Sheet: Profit Down

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Cardinal Health Inc. (NYSE:CAH) reported its results for the first quarter. Cardinal Health offers products and services that improve the safety and productivity of healthcare providers.

Investing Insights: Here’s Why Chipotle’s Stock Keeps Winning.

Cardinal Health Earnings Cheat Sheet for the First Quarter

Results: Net income for the drug wholesaler fell to $236.8 million (68 cents per share) vs. $294.8 million (84 cents per share) a year earlier. This is a decline of 19.7% from the year earlier quarter.

Revenue: Rose 9.6% to $26.79 billion from the year earlier quarter.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: CAH reported adjusted net income of 73 cents per share. By that measure, the company beat the mean estimate of 72 cents per share. It beat the average revenue estimate of $26.18 billion.

Quoting Management: “Our fiscal 2012 has started with a solid first quarter, driven by strong revenue gains from both of our segments, continued progress on our margin initiatives and contributions from our recent acquisitions,” said George Barrett, chairman and chief executive officer of Cardinal Health. “While we’re pleased with the performance of our business in this first quarter, we’re even more excited about the growth in strategic priority areas including specialty, positron emission tomography, generics, ambulatory, preferred medical products and China.Our progress in these areas provides increasing confidence that we’re positioning well for future growth.”

Key Stats:

The company has now topped analyst estimates for the last four quarters. It beat the mark by one cent in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, by 6 cents in the third quarter of the last fiscal year, and by 8 cents in the second quarter of the last fiscal year.

Revenue has risen the past four quarters. Revenue increased 9.4% to $26.76 billion in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year. The figure rose 7.1% in the third quarter of the last fiscal year from the year earlier and climbed 1.8% in the second quarter of the last fiscal year from the year-ago quarter.

Gross margins grew 0.1 percentage point to 4%. The growth seemed to be driven by increased revenue, as the figure rose 9.6% from the year earlier quarter while costs rose 9.5%.

Looking Forward: Analysts appear increasingly optimistic about the company’s results for the next quarter. The average estimate for the second quarter has moved up from 74 cents a share to 76 cents over the last ninety days. Over the past three months, the average estimate for the fiscal year has climbed from $3.03 per to share to $3.17.

Competitors to Watch: AmerisourceBergen Corp. (NYSE:ABC), McKesson Corporation (NYSE:MCK), Integra LifeSciences Hldgs. Corp. (NASDAQ:IART), Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE:TMO), Teleflex Incorporated (NYSE:TFX), Covidien plc (NYSE:COV), General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE:CVS), Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG), and Owens & Minor, Inc. (NYSE:OMI).

Investing Insights: Here’s Why Chipotle’s Stock Keeps Winning.

(Source: Xignite Financials)