Merck beats forecast, but issues cautious 2013 view

Merck & Co's quarterly results beat forecasts, helped by strong sales of its Januvia diabetes drug and Gardasil vaccine against cervical cancer, but the company issued a full-year 2013 profit view at the low end of Wall Street expectations

The No. 2 U.S. drugmaker on Friday said it earned $1.4 billion, or 46 cents per share, in the fourth quarter. That compared with $1.51 billion, or 49 cents per share, in the year-earlier period, when the company took charges for acquisition and restructuring expenses.

Excluding special items, Merck earned 83 cents per share. Analysts, on average, had expected 81 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Global company revenue of $11.74 billion topped Wall Street forecasts of $11.48 billion.

(Reporting by Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Gerald E. McCormick)