Merck Limits Guidance; Posts In-Line Results

Merck on Monday said it was not providing long-time financial

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forecasts as it assesses the impact of another failed study result for its Vytorin cholesterol fighter, which it produces with Schering Plough.

Merck has previously targeted double-digit compound annual earnings-per-share growth from 2005 through 2010, excluding certain items.

For the second quarter, the drugmaker said it earned $1.77 billion, or 82 cents per share, compared with $1.68 billion, or 77 cents per share, a year earlier. Analysts were expecting results of about 83 cents a share.

Excluding special items, the company earned 86 cents per share.

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