abbott laboratories earningsAbbott Laboratories reported higher earnings from continuing operations, as demand for its nutritional and diagnostic products offset declining sales of the company's medical devices.

Abbott Laboratories Inc. (ABT), which split off its branded drugs business at the beginning of the year into a new company called AbbVie Inc. (ABBV), on Wednesday reported a first-quarter profit of $544 million, or 34 cents a share, from continuing operations.

That compared with year-earlier earnings from continuing operations of $351 million, or 22 cents a share.

Excluding special items, the suburban Chicago company earned 42 cents a share. Analysts, on average, had expected 41 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales rose 1.8 percent to $5.38 billion, slightly below Wall Street expectations of $5.41 billion.

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