Merck Earnings Stock Gains Give Way After Keytruda Revenue Turns Out To Be a Miss

Merck & Co. Inc. shares surged as much as 1.4% in pre-market trade after company earnings numbers appeared to show its blockbuster Keytruda cancer drug beat expectations. But on the company's earnings call, management said fourth-quarter sales for the drug included a one-time adjustment of $40 million in revenue "that had previously been deferred," according to the FactSet transcript. As such, Keytruda fourth-quarter revenue was $443 million, compared with the FactSet consensus of $470 million. The Keytruda revenue number -- at $483, a 125% increase from the year-earlier period -- had previously appeared to be "the most important positive," said Evercore ISI's Mark Schoenebaum. "In fact, Keytruda missed the US consensus estimate." Merck shares have risen 5.5% over the last three months, compared with a 8.7% rise in the S&P 500 .

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