Merck posts strong first-quarter profit, but revenue light

Merck posts strong first-quarter profit, but revenue light
The Associated Press

Merck reported a 6 percent revenue jump in the first quarter, but profits plunged by more than half due to sharply higher research and development costs.

Much of that increase was due to a $1.4 billion charge for starting a research partnership with Japanese drugmaker Eisai.

The maker of diabetes drug Januvia and cancer blockbuster Keytruda had net income of $736 million, or 27 cents per share. That was down from $1.55 billion, or 56 cents per share, a year earlier.

Earnings, adjusted for costs related to mergers and acquisitions, came to $1.05 per share, which is 6 cents better than Wall Street analysts had projected, according to a poll by Zacks Investment Research.

It’s revenue of $10.04 billion was just shy of the $10.12 billion many analysts had expected.

The Kenilworth, New Jersey, company tweaked its 2018 financial forecast Tuesday. It now expects full-year earnings between $4.16 and $4.28 per share, with revenue between $41.8 billion and $43 billion.

In premarket trading, shares were flat at $58.90.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on MRK at https://www.zacks.com/ap/MRK

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Follow Linda A. Johnson at https://twitter.com/LindaJ_onPharma

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