Pfizer Inc. Earnings: Four Quarters of Rising Profit Now Broken

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) reported its results for the fourth quarter. Pfizer is a global pharmaceutical company which develops and manufactures prescription medications for humans and animals.

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Pfizer Earnings Cheat Sheet for the Fourth Quarter

Results: Net income for the drug manufacturer fell to $1.44 billion (19 cents per share) vs. $2.89 billion (36 cents per share) a year earlier. This is a decline of 50.2% from the year earlier quarter.

Revenue: Fell 4.6% to $16.75 billion from the year earlier quarter.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: PFE reported adjusted net income of 50 cents per share. By that measure, the company beat the mean estimate of 47 cents per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $16.61 billion.

Quoting Management: Ian Read, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “Overall, 2011 was a year of setting new direction and focus for Pfizer. I am pleased with our 2011 financial performance, which was achieved in the face of a challenging global market and product losses of exclusivity of approximately $5 billion. We also made significant progress regarding capital allocation for the benefit of our shareholders during 2011.”

Key Stats:

Last quarter’s profit decrease breaks a streak of four consecutive quarters of year-over-year profit increases. In the third quarter, net income rose more than fourfold from the year earlier, while the figure increased 5.5% in the second quarter, 9.7% in the first quarter and more than threefold in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

The company has now topped analyst estimates for the last four quarters. It beat the mark by 6 cents in the third quarter, by one cent in the second quarter, and by 2 cents in the first quarter.

Revenue fell last quarter after seeing a rise the quarter before. Revenue rose 6.3% to $17.19 billion in the third quarter from the year earlier.

Looking Forward: Next quarter’s results are expected to be more favorable for the company. Over the past sixty days, the average estimate for the first quarter of the next fiscal year has reached 57 cents per share, up from 55 cents. Over the past three months, the average estimate for the fiscal year has climbed from $2.25 per to share to $2.28.

Competitors to Watch: Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK), GlaxoSmithKline plc (NYSE:GSK), Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY), Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY), Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS), Mylan Inc. (NASDAQ:MYL), Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN), and Sanofi-Aventis SA (NYSE:SNY).

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(Company fundamentals provided by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)

To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Hoffman at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at