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Merck profits beat expectations

Tuesday, April 29 14:16:39

Merck today reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings, helped by cost cuts and asset sales, but revenue came in slightly below expectations.

The second biggest U.S. drugmaker said it earned $1.70 billion, or 57 cents per share, in the first quarter, compared with $1.59 billion, or 52 cents, in the year-earlier period.

Excluding special items, Merck earned 88 cents per share. The average analyst expected 79 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Merck's global revenue fell 4 percent to $10.26 billion, hurt by generic competition for its Singulair treatment for allergy and asthma. Wall Street expected $10.44 billion.