Tylenol, Zyrtec sales boost J&J's profit

Profits shot higher at Johnson & Johnson in the first quarter as consumers rushed to stockpile essential medications like Tylenol, Motrin and Zyrtec. A rise in pharmaceutical sales led by cancer drugs also padded the bottom line.

But at the same time, the pandemic hurt sales of its medical devices as hospitals delayed elective surgeries and services such as vision correction and orthopedic procedures. It also pushed the drug maker to cut its full-year earnings forecast. That outlook includes the impact of investments it's making to combat the pandemic.

Johnson & Johnson plans to begin human testing of its lead vaccine candidate for the coronavirus by September and has said it could be ready in early 2021. It has signed a deal with the U.S. government to create enough capacity to produce more than 1 billion doses of it.

Despite the weaker outlook, Johnson & Johnson raised its quarterly dividend Tuesday, and investors drove the stock higher in early trading.

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