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CSL Limited (ASX:CSL) shares surge higher on profit guidance upgrade

In morning trade the CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) share price has been one of the best performers on the market.

At the time of writing the biotherapeutics company’s shares are up 5% to $184.69.

Why are CSL Limited’s shares pushing higher?

This morning CSL provided the market with a revised profit outlook for FY 2018. As you might have guessed from the share price reaction, it was an upgrade.

According to the release, the company now expects net profit after tax for FY 2018 to be in the range of approximately US$1,680 to US$1,710 million in constant currency.

Previous guidance, which was given at its half-year results in February, was for full-year net profit after tax in the range of US$1,550 to US$1,600 million in constant currency. This means that management has lifted its guidance by 6% to 8%.

It also means that FY 2018 net profit after tax is expected to be 25% to 28% higher than the US$1,337 million it achieved in FY 2017.

What caused the guidance upgrade?

CSL’s CEO and managing director, Paul Perreault, advised that the strong performance was “underpinned by a confluence of positive outcomes as we work to deliver on our strategy. Of particular note has been a positive product and geographic sales mix shift, particularly with better than expected sales of Idelvion and Haegarda.”

In addition to this, he pointed to a strong performance from its Seqirus influenza business following a severe northern hemisphere influenza season and the phasing of investments in clinical trials having a positive financial impact.

Should you invest?

I think this profit upgrade demonstrates why CSL is regarded as one of the highest quality businesses that Australia has to offer.

Although its shares do trade at a premium to the market average, I believe this is justified by its current growth profile.

In light of this, I would put it up there with Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH) and ResMed Inc (ASX: RMD) as one of the best buy and hold options in the healthcare sector.

As well as CSL, I think this investment opportunity could be a fantastic buy and hold option.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Cochlear Ltd. and ResMed Inc. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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