July 18, 2017 / 5:30 AM / in 7 months

Novartis sticks to 2018 growth target, lifts Alcon outlook

ZURICH, July 18 (Reuters) - Novartis on Tuesday reiterated its forecast that sales would start growing again in 2018 and slightly lifted the full-year outlook for its Alcon eyecare division, as sales of surgical equipment finally ended a string of declines.

Core net income fell 2 percent to $2.87 billion, the Swiss drugmaker said in a statement, but beat the average analyst forecast of $2.668 billion in a Reuters poll. Sales fell 2 percent to $12.242 billion, hurt by declining revenue from blood cancer drug Gleevec and U.S. price pressure at the company’s Sandoz generics business.

Novartis now expects Alcon’s full-year sales to rise by a low single-digit percentage rate, having previously forecast revenue to remain stable or a low-single digit percentage rise. (Reporting by John Miller)

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