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Profits up 11%

WASHINGTON - Drug and medical device maker Abbott Laboratories, which owns Abbott Bioresearch Center in Worcester, reported Wednesday that sales of drugs and nutritionals in emerging markets led to an 11 percent rise in its second-quarter profit, leading the company to raise its full-year earnings guidance.

The North Chicago, Ill.-based company says total sales increased 9 percent to $9.62 billion, led by double-digit growth in emerging markets and increasing demand for its best-selling product Humira in the U.S. and abroad. Sales of the blockbuster inflammatory drug increased 25 percent to nearly $2 billion in the quarter. The drug is used for a half-dozen diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and Crohn's disease.

University of Michigan professor Erik Gordon called the quarter "a rare pharma company earnings report that doesn't have to make excuses for the company's performance."

"The story is in emerging markets, where the company had good results across its product areas, even after adjusting for the favorable currency changes," said Gordon, a business professor and former pharmaceutical industry executive.

Early this year, Abbott said it would eliminate 1,900 employees from its pharmaceutical business as it struggled to maintain double-digit profit growth amid cost pressures. But the quarter's results highlighted the growth of the company's businesses in emerging markets such as Russia, India and China. Total emerging market sales increased 23 percent to $2.59 billion.

Abbott raised its full-year earnings-per-share guidance 4 cents to between $4.58 and $4.68, predicting double-digit earnings growth for 2011. Analysts expect $4.60 per share, on average.

- The Associated Press

Net income rises

SAN FRANCISCO - Intel Corp., which has a plant in Hudson, said its results for the latest quarter were better than expected as it milked strong corporate demand for PCs and the need for new computer servers to handle Internet traffic on mobile devices.

But the second-quarter numbers, reported Wednesday, don't necessarily mean that the PC business, which Intel helped create three decades ago, is in great shape.

Consumer demand for PCs in the U.S. and Europe has been weak for the past year. Stacy Smith, Intel's chief financial officer, said in an interview that it is expected to remain "relatively soft" for the remainder of 2011.

Shipments into those markets are actually decreasing, according to market research IDC and Gartner Inc. released last week.

But Intel's latest numbers provide a map for how the industry plans to find its way out.

Intel's net income rose just 2 percent to $2.95 billion, or 54 cents per share, from $2.89 billion, or 51 cents per share, a year ago. Excluding some expenses, Intel earned 59 cents per share, ahead of analyst expectations for 51 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue rose 21 percent to $13.03 billion, also ahead of analyst projections for $12.8 billion.

- The Associated Press

Realtors optimistic

Realtors are feeling better about the Massachusetts real estate market than they were a year ago, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors announced yesterday.

In June, the Realtor Market Index was 29.17, up 2.8 percent from June 2010. This is the first year-over-year increase since May 2010, the association said in a news release.

The Realtor Price Index in June was 38.30, down 18.2 percent from the June 2010.

The Market Index and Price Index are based on monthly responses from a random sampling of members of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors.

The survey also asked how Realtors felt about a proposal that would require a 20 percent down payment to obtain a qualified residential mortgage. Realtors overwhelmingly are concerned about the measure, the association reported.

- Priyanka Dayal

Restitution sought

Secretary of State William F. Galvin is seeking restitution for Massachusetts investors who lost money after they were allegedly misled by RBC Capital Markets, a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada.

Mr. Galvin is charging RBC and one of its former registered representatives with dishonest practices in selling leveraged and inverse leveraged exchange traded funds to clients who didn't understand how the investments worked.

"The point of the complaint is not that the investors lost money - all investments run that risk," Mr. Galvin said in a news release. "The dishonesty here is that the investors, and indeed the agent soliciting their investment, did not understand the workings of these funds. The firm failed in its responsibility to train and supervise its agent and this failure led to investor harm."

The complaint also cites RBC's "haphazard" oversight of its Osterville branch.

Massachusetts investors lost hundreds of thousands of dollars after making purchases based on bad recommendations, Mr. Galvin said.

- Priyanka Dayal

Home businesses

The U.S. Small Business Administration will host a web chat next week offering advice on how to grow a home-based business.

Small-business owner Boyd Wright will host the chat from 1 to 2 p.m. July 28.

Chat participants will learn about working from home, starting a home-based business and managing the business within the law, the SBA said in a news release. Participants can post questions online before the chat begins.

To join the chat, visit and click on the web chat event under the "What's New" section.

To review archives of past web chats, visit

- Priyanka Dayal


FRAMINGHAM - Staples Inc. yesterday announced the promotion of Christine Putur to chief information officer.

Putur joined Staples in 1999 and has since held leadership roles on the company's e-commerce, technology strategy, program management and U.S. retail technology teams. She most recently served as senior vice president of information systems for the company's North American Delivery businesses.

Putur succeeds Brian Light, who will lead the company's efforts to enhance customers' experience across Staples' retail, delivery and contract businesses.

- Priyanka Dayal

Tornado relief

The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation has raised $13,500 to support the ongoing relief and rebuilding efforts related to the June 1 tornadoes that devastated Central and Western Massachusetts last month.

About $12,000 was collected for the American Red Cross through donations from Harvard Pilgrim employees and contributions from Harvard Pilgrim and the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation. An additional $1,500 was collected to help care for pets affected by the tornadoes.

- Craig S. Semon
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Title Annotation:MONEY
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jul 21, 2011
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