Earnings

Merck fourth-quarter sales just miss Wall Street estimate

Reuters With CNBC
Getty Images

Merck reported quarterly sales that were slightly lower than expected, hurt by competition from cheaper generic medicines, and predicted full-year earnings at the lower end of analysts' expectations.

The second-biggest U.S. drugmaker said on Wednesday it earned $781 million, or 26 cents per share, in the fourth quarter. That compared with $908 million, or 30 cents per share, in the year-earlier period.

After the earnings announcement, the company's shares rose in premarket trading. (Click here to get the latest quotes for Merck.)

Revenue fell 4 percent to $11.32 billion. Wall Street was expecting $11.36 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

Merck predicted full-year earnings, excluding special items, of $3.35 to $3.53 per share. The average analyst estimate was $3.48 per share.

Separately, Merck said it plans to test its closely followed immuno-oncology drug MK-3475 in combination with medicines being developed by rival drugmakers Pfizer, Amgen, Incyte.

By Reuters. CNBC contributed to this report.