Shares of Merck & Co. Inc.
rose 1.4% in premarket trading Thursday, after the drug giant reported third-quarter profit and sale that beat expectations and raised its full-year outlook, as sales of the company’s top 3 selling drugs topped forecasts. Net income fell to $3.25 billion, or $1.28 a share, from $4.57 billion, or $1.80 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding nonrecurring items, adjusted earnings per share rose to $1.85 from $1.78, beating the FactSet consensus of $1.72. Sales grew 13.7% to $14.96 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $14.07 billion. Keytruda sales jumped 20% to $5.43 billion, topping expectations of $5.41 billion; of Gardasil sales increased 15% to $2.29 billion, above expectations of $2.07 billion. Januvia/Janumet sales fell 15% to $1.13 billion but beat expectations of $1.07 billion. Animal Health sales fell 3% to $1.4 billion, and gross margin contracted to 73.7% from 73.8%. For 2022, Merck raised its guidance ranges for adjusted EPS to $7.32 to $7.37 from $7.25 to $7.35 and for sales to $58.5 billion to $59.0 billion from $57.5 billion to $58.5 billion. Separately, the company said late Wednesday that Robert Davis will succeed Ken Frazier as chief executive officer, as Frazier plans to retire on Nov. 30, 2022. The stock has gained 7.9% over the past three months while the Dow Jones Industrial Average
has slipped 1.1%.
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