Merck Tops Profit Estimates, But Sales Fall Slightly Short

By Ciara LinnaneMarketWatch Pulse

Merck & Co. said Wednesday it had net income of $976 million, or 35 cents a share, in the fourth quarter, down from $7.3 billion, or $2.54 a share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted per-share earnings that exclude acquisition and divestiture costs, as well as restructuring and litigation charges, came to 93 cents, ahead of the FactSet consensus of 91 cents. Sales fell to $10.2 billion from $10.5 billion, slightly below the FactSet consensus of $10.3 billion. Looking ahead, the company said it expects full-year adjusted EPS of $3.60 to $3.75, compared with the current FactSet consensus of $3.72. Sales are expected to range from $38.7 billion to $40.2 billion, compared with a FactSet consensus of $40.3 billion. Shares were slightly lower premarket, and are down 17% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has lost 7%.

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