Johnson and Johnson (JNJ) was the first member of the health consumer staples club to report in the spring on Wall Street. As a large producer of essential hygiene products, personal care items and services, it could reap the benefits of its unique positioning on markets as most people are addictive in their nature to the same kind of skin health brands and baby medications. JNJ is also one of the world leaders in providing prescription and over-the-counter drugs, surgical equipment and orthopaedic implants, which are difficult to be replaced by anything else. Nevertheless, the stock lost 2.15% of their value on April 16. As a result, a smoothly descending channel on monthly charts since the beginning of 2023 still stands intact.

Nominally, the Q1 growth numbers were even better than expected, with EPS (equity per share) coming out at $2.71 vs $2.64 of consensus projections. Yet, there is almost no increase in profit in absolute terms over the past two years, which means the medtech giant is earning less if adjusted for inflation effects. Therefore, even though J&J performance in the segment of innovative medicine could be called impressive, as it contributed to 63.5% of the company's sales amounting to $13.56 billion against preliminary estimates of $13.47 billion, most large investment houses were not satisfied. Some of them just preferred to moderately cut their mid-term targets for the company's price, in the range of $5 to $10 per share to the current levels around $145, citing a lacklustre in forward guidance parameters for the rest of 2024, foreign exchange headwinds (a reason why international sales declined by 0.3% Y0Y) and other factors like a potential loss of exclusivity for Stelara drug brand, which was designed to treat psoriasis, related arthritis and ulcerative colitis.

Johnson & Johnson sees its adjusted operational EPS to range between $10.60 and $10.75 for 2024, with "Innovative Medicine sales growth is expected to be stronger in the first half of the year". Does it mean that the second part of 2024 would experience a slowdown? Again, the Vision Care business of the giant has narrowed due to "changes in distributor inventory". JNJ's CEOs commented on the strategic acquisition of Shockwave Medical and Ambrx to strengthen the company's cardiovascular and oncology portfolios, which could be important but still questionable from the point of view of future financial return. The session of questions and answers during the conference call also included the multiple myeloma franchises and litigation related to some patents, while the company's representatives affirmed confidence in their solid position. The company's future prospect looks rather optimistic, yet the share price dynamics based on mentioned challenges suggests that prematurely buying of JNJ stock at any levels well above the lows of April 2020 may be unreasonable, if only no fresh fundamental drivers appear.