Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) released its December quarter earnings this morning before opening bell, and investors appeared to be slightly disappointed, at least at first. Shares initially declined nearly 3% in premarket trading after the report, although they recovered slightly afterward.

Abbott Laboratories

Breaking down Abbott Laboratories’ results

The health care company reported lower net earnings of $589 million or 37 cents per share. In the same quarter a year ago, the company reported earnings of $1.053 billion or 66 cents per share. Net earnings from continuing operations excluding items did increase to $918 million or 58 cents per share, which is in line with consensus. Net sales rose .4% to $5.655 billion, compared to $5.632 billion in the same quarter a year ago. However, it wasn’t enough to meet Wall Street’s expectations.

Analysts had been expecting Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) to report earnings of 58 cents per share on revenue of $5.72 billion.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) reported worldwide sales for the fourth quarter of $5.7 billion—an increase of 3.3% on an operational basis. The company said its Diagnostics and Medical Devices division was the main driver of worldwide sales.

Abbott Laboratories provides guidance

The health care company said it plans to increase its share repurchases this year to over $ 2 billion. It also provided guidance for this year. Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) expects full-year earnings per share to be between $2.16 and $2.26 per share for 2014. At the midpoint of that range, it reflects double-digit growth. Analysts are currently projecting earnings of $2.21 per share for the full year.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) also said it expects full-year items to add up to about $1.03 per share. Those items include intangible amortization expense, charges from cost cutting plans and tax expenses from a repatriating 2014 earnings made outside the U.S. Including these items, the company expects GAAP earnings per share will be between $1,13 and $1.23 per share.