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Healthcare

UPDATE 2-AmerisourceBergen quarterly profit tops estimates

* Q3 net earnings of $118.8 mln

* Sees FY EPS at high end of range (Adds sales, analyst comment, stock price, details; Changes dateline, previously NEW YORK)

CHICAGO, July 30 (Reuters) - Drug wholesaler AmerisourceBergen Corp ABC.N posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, helped by sales of generic drugs, and said it sees fiscal-year earnings at the high end of its previously stated range.

Fiscal third-quarter net earnings were $118.8 million, or 40 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $108 million, or 34 cents per share, a year ago.

Excluding discontinued operations, earnings of 42 cents per share were 3 cents ahead of the average estimate of analysts, according to Reuters Estimates.

Stronger gross margin and a lower tax rate aided results as quarterly revenue rose 2.2 percent to a record $18.4 billion.

The company expects fiscal-year earnings from continuing operations to be at the higher end of its previously stated range of $1.59 to $1.65 per share.

"We believe investor expectations may have incorporated a higher beat/better guidance going forward after strong results from McKesson MCK.N on Tuesday," JPMorgan analyst Lisa Gill wrote in a research note to clients.

Its shares closed on Wednesday at $20.28 on the New York Stock Exchange, after rising to their highest level since last fall. (Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf and Debra Sherman; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)

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