CVS Caremark Predicts 2014 Earnings Growth

The Associated Press

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CVS Caremark Corp. expects earnings per share to grow more than 10 percent next year, and the drugstore chain plans to return some money to its shareholders through a higher dividend.

The Woonsocket, R.I., company said Wednesday that it expects adjusted earnings of between $4.36 and $4.50 per share in 2014. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expect, on average, earnings of $4.46 per share.

CVS Caremark runs the second-largest drugstore chain in the United States after Walgreen Co., and its Caremark unit also is one of the nation's largest pharmacy benefits managers.

The company said its forecast assumes the completion of $4 billion in share buybacks next year and the second-half launch of a recently announced joint venture with prescription drug distributor Cardinal Health to buy generic drugs.

CVS Caremark also said that its board approved a 5-cent increase in its quarterly dividend, to 27.5 cents per share. The higher payout will be made Feb. 3 to shareholders of record on Jan. 23.

The company's board also approved a new stock buyback program for up to $6 billion in shares. That is expected to be completed over several years.

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