Merck Underwhelms Despite Beating Earnings

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When Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) reported its most recent quarterly results before the markets opened on Friday, the pharmaceutical giant said that it had $1.06 in earnings per share (EPS) and $10.5 billion in revenue. The consensus estimates had called for $1.03 in EPS and revenue of $10.29 billion. The same period of last year reportedly had EPS of $1.01 and $9.93 billion in revenue.

One of the main highlights from the quarter was that Merck continued to expand its oncology program by further advancing the development programs for Keytruda (pembrolizumab), the company’s anti-PD-1 therapy; Lynparza (olaparib), a PARP inhibitor being co-developed and co-commercialized with AstraZeneca; and Lenvima (lenvatinib mesylate), an orally available tyrosine kinase inhibitor being co-developed and co-commercialized with Eisai.

Looking ahead to the 2018 full year, Merck expects to see EPS in the range of $4.22 to $4.30 and revenues between $42.0 billion and $42.8 billion. The consensus estimates call for $4.23 in EPS and $42.07 billion in revenue.

Kenneth C. Frazier, Merck’s board chair and chief executive, commented:

Strong commercial execution globally for KEYTRUDA, GARDASIL, BRIDION and other products led the company to deliver growth in the second quarter. We continue to solidify our leadership in immuno-oncology and, along with our other key pillars of growth including Animal Health, we are confident in the strength of our business.

Shares of Merck traded down 1.1% Friday morning to $63.28. The consensus analyst price target is $69.44, and a 52-week trading range is $52.83 to $66.41.

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