July 30, 2010 / 3:47 PM / in 8 years

UPDATE 3-McKesson quarterly profit edges higher

* Q1 EPS $1.10 vs $1.09 Wall St estimate

* Maintains FY EPS $4.72-$4.92 (Adds analyst comments, updates stock)

CHICAGO, July 30 (Reuters) - McKesson Corp (MCK.N) posted a slightly higher quarterly profit on Friday, helped by sales of generic drugs, and backed its outlook for the year, but weakness in its technology business kept its shares under pressure.

Shares of McKesson fell to their lowest level in nearly 3 months in early trading, but have since pared losses and were down $1.62 or 2.5 percent to $62.26 on the New York Stock Exchange in late morning dealings.

Net income edged up to $298 million, or $1.10 per share, for the company’s first fiscal quarter, ended June 30. That compared with $288 million, or $1.06 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected $1.09 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Profit was boosted by an antitrust settlement which added 12 cents per share, noted Morningstar analyst Matthew Coffina.

Earnings, he said, were “not high-quality,” adding that operating margins were down and revenue was weaker than he had expected.

Quarterly revenue was $27.5 billion, up from $26.7 billion a year before.

Sales growth was driven primarily by strong performance in the core U.S. direct distribution business as well as Canadian business, noted Deutsche Bank analyst Ross Muken, adding that service revenue in Technology Solutions, its healthcare software business, was somewhat weak in the quarter.

Tom Gallucci, an analyst with Lazard Capital Markets, said he expects revenue in the technology business to ramp up toward the end of the year.

“The company is making investments in technology and those numbers will improve over time,” he said. “When I look at the stock and do a sum of its parts evaluation, they’re not even getting that much credit for (the technology business).”

The company maintained its earnings forecast of $4.72 per share to $4.92 per share for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011. (Reporting by Debra Sherman, additional reporting by Lewis Krauskopf; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Steve Orlofsky)

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