CVS Health Tops 3Q Earnings Forecasts

(AP) -- Lower taxes and a jump in prescriptions helped push CVS Health past third-quarter expectations.

The nation's second-largest drugstore chain said Tuesday that prescription volume in stores open at least a year jumped 9 percent, which nudged revenue from its retail-long-term care business up more than 6 percent to about $20.9 billion.

CVS Health also booked a $268-million drop in income taxes due to federal tax cuts. Those gains helped counter a $64 million increase in acquisition-related costs, as CVS Health worked to close its roughly $69 billion acquisition of the insurer Aetna. The company said Tuesday it expects that deal to close before Thanksgiving.

Overall, net income for the drugstore chain and pharmacy benefit manager climbed 8 percent to $1.39 billion in the third quarter, while adjusted earnings per share totaled $1.73. Revenue rose 2 percent to $47.27 billion.

Analysts expected, on average, third-quarter earnings of $1.71 per share on $47.2 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

CVS Health Corp., based in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, runs more than 9,800 retail locations and processes over a billion prescriptions annually.

The company also said Tuesday that it reaffirmed its forecast for 2018 adjusted earnings of between $6.98 and $7.08 per share. Analysts predict earnings of $7.04 per share.

Shares of CVS Health advanced more than 3 percent, or $2.51, to $76.20 before markets opened Tuesday.