Merck Dawdles on Q4 Results

Merck (NYSE: MRK) posted mixed fourth-quarter results, beating earnings expectations but falling short of revenue estimates despite skyrocketing Keytruda sales.

Earnings per Share came in at 98 cents vs. the expected 94 cents per share.
Revenues were $10.43 billion, compared to the $10.5 billion experts predicted.

In the fourth quarter, the pharmaceutical company reported a net loss of $872 million, or 32 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $594 million, or 22 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

However, after stripping out special items, such as a $2.6-billion charge related to the new tax law, the company earned $2.7 billion, or 98 cents per share, above analysts' estimates of 94 cents per share.

Merck posted revenue of $10.43 billion, up 3% from a year ago and below expectations of $10.5 billion. Its pharmaceuticals business grew 4% from the same time last year, reaching $9.3 billion in the quarter.

Sales of Keytruda, Merck's blockbuster cancer drug, rocketed 169% to hit $1.3 billion, narrowly beating Street expectations of $1.27 billion. Diabetes drugs Januvia and Janumet reached $1.52 billion, up 1% from the year-ago quarter and just above estimates of $1.5 billion.

For 2018, Merck forecasts adjusted earnings of $4.08 and $4.23 per share and revenue of $41.2 billion and $42.7 billion. Analysts had been expecting $4.11 per share and $41.1 billion, respectively.

Merck shares gave back 42 cents to $59.44