Merck & Co. shares rose 4.5% in premarket trade Tuesday, after the drugs company reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings and narrowed and raised its full-year outlook. Merck said it had net income of $953 million, or 33 cents a share, in the quarter, down from $1.7 billion, or 57 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted per-share earnings came to 85 cents, ahead of the FactSet consensus of 74 cents. Sales edged down to $9.4 billion from $10.3 billion, but were ahead of the FactSet consensus of $9.1 billion. The company is now expecting full-year adjusted earnings of $3.55 to $3.48 a share, including a 27 cents negative impact from foreign exchange. Revenue is expected to range from $38.3 billion to $39.8 billion. The current FactSet consensus is for full-year EPS of $3.37 and revenue of $39.3 billion. Shares have gained 0.6% in the year so far, while the S&P 500 has gained 2.4%.
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