So I Guess Merck DID “Pull A Pfizer” — Sales & EPS A Little Light; Currencies Were A Strong Headwind

Okay — I did broadly hint at this, after Pfizer’s disappointing earnings announcement yesterday — so, it shouldn’t be a major surprise.

Even so, I expect Merck will lose about 3 to 4 per cent today — in NYSE trading, and on very heavy volumes — when the markets open, in about an hour.

Oddly, Januvia® sales didn’t grow much in Q1 2013 — we’ll need to hear more about that. UPDATE (from Adam Schecter’s live remarks, on the call): Demand in the US is softening, just as pricing-pressures are increasing — even so, Merck holds over 75 per cent of US market-share. There was also some Q1 2013 inventory level management — as customers reduced their inventory levels, all in the US — related to the Januvia diabetes franchise.

Here’s a bit — of the Reuters coverage — do go read it all:

. . . .Merck. . . reported lower-than-expected first-quarter sales. . . .

Shares of Merck were down 2.3 percent at $45.90 in trading before the market opened. . . .

Merck reported net income of $1.59 billion, or 52 cents per share, compared with $1.74 billion, or 56 cents per share, in the year-earlier quarter. . . .

Sales fell 9 percent to $10.7 billion, below the $11.09 billion Wall Street was expecting.

Merck said it expected full-year 2013 earnings, excluding special items, of $3.45 to $3.55 per share. That is below the $3.60 to $3.70 it had forecast in February. . . .

So it goes — I hate to say that I told you so — but I did. Pfizer was the canary in the coal mine, here. I’ll live blog any other surprises.


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