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Walgreens Boots Alliance Lifts Outlook Despite Mixed Q1 Results

From Drug store giant Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ:WBA) early Thursday posted mixed Q1 earnings results and offered an in-line outlook as it works with the FTC to close its acquisition of Rite Aid.

The Deerfield, IL-based company reported Q1 EPS of $1.10, which was $0.01 better than the $1.09 that analysts had expected. Revenues fell 1.8% from last year to $28.5 billion, missing Wall Street’s view of $29.27 billion.

Walgreens noted that retail pharmacy comps in the U.S. rose 1.1% from last year, while pharmacy sales jumped 2.5%. Pharmacy sales accounted for 69.1% of the overall U.S. revenue in the latest period. Comparable pharmacy sales increased 2.0%.

On a constant currency basis, comparable international store sales fell 0.1%, while comparable pharmacy sales fell 0.5%.

Looking ahead, WBA forecast full-year 2017 EPS to range from $4.90 to $5.20, up from a prior range of $4.85 to $5.20. On average, Wall Street analysts are looking for EPS of $5.00 for the year.

The company commented via press release:

“Overall we are pleased with the progress this quarter, with results in line with our expectations. We continue to anticipate that growth in the second half of fiscal 2017 will reflect the new strategic pharmacy partnerships we announced last year. As a result, we have raised the lower end of our fiscal year guidance by 5 cents per share. In addition, we continue to work toward closing the pending acquisition of Rite Aid Corporation in the early part of this calendar year.”

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc shares rose $0.66 (+0.8%) in premarket trading Thursday. Year-to-date, WBA has gained 0.27%, versus a 1.36% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

WBA currently has an POWR Rating of A (Strong Buy), and is ranked #1 of 5 stocks in the Medical – Drug Stores category.

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