DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) - Cardinal Health hiked its 2016 earnings forecast after its first-quarter profit jumped 44 percent and easily beat Wall Street expectations.

DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) Cardinal Health hiked its 2016 earnings forecast after its first-quarter profit jumped 44 percent and easily beat Wall Street expectations.

The prescription drug distributor now expects adjusted earnings for the year to range between $5.15 and $5.35, up from a previous forecast for $4.85 to $5.05 per share.

That's also better than the per-share projections from analysts that follow the company, according to FactSet.

Cardinal earned $383 million compared with $266 million during last year's first quarter, when the company took a hit from the expiration of a contract with Walgreens, the nation's largest drugstore chain.

Cardinal earnings adjusted for one-time costs totaled $1.38 per share in the most recent quarter. That's 28 cents better than analysts had expected, according to a survey by Zacks Investment

The Dublin, Ohio, company's revenue climbed 17 percent to $28.06 billion, which also beat the average forecast for $26.95 billion.

Cardinal Health distributes prescription drugs through its pharmaceuticals business and sells a wide range of equipment like heart devices, surgical gloves and crutches through its medical segment.

The pharmaceuticals segment brings in most of its business, and that's where the company booked a 46 percent profit gain in the quarter, helped by its generic drug business, as well as growth from new and existing customers and acquisitions. That countered a profit drop in the medical segment.

Shares of Cardinal Health climbed 4.4 percent, or $3.63, to $85.83 in midday trading Monday, while broader indexes rose less than 1 percent.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on CAH at http://www.zacks.com/ap/CAH

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Keywords: Cardinal Health, Earnings Report