Pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., Inc. ( MRK ) on Friday said its first quarter profit rose more than three-fold from last year, mainly due to fewer one-time costs and a lower tax rate.
The Whitehouse Station, NJ-based company reported first quarter net income of $1.04 billion, or 34 cents per share, compared with $299 million, or 9 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding one-time benefits, adjusted profit was 92 cents per share.
Sales rose just 1% from last year to $11.58 billion.
On average, Wall Street analysts expected a lower profit of 84 cents per share, on lower revenue of $11.37 billion.
Looking ahead, the company boosted the low-end of its previously-announced full-year forecast range. It now expects $3.66 to $3.76 per share in profits for the year, versus a prior view of $3.64 to $3.76. Analysts expect $3.70 per share for the year.
Merck shares rose 30 cents, or +0.8%, in premarket trading Friday.
The Bottom Line
Shares of Merck ( MRK ) have a 4.20% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $35.77. The stock has technical support in the $32-$33 price area. If the shares can firm up, we see overhead resistance around the $37-$38 price levels.
Merck & Co., Inc. ( MRK ) is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com DARS™ Rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars.
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