Merck & Co. Inc. Fourth Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) will unveil its latest earnings on Thursday, February 2, 2012. Merck is a global research-driven company that develops and manufactures a range of innovative pharmaceutical products to improve human and animal health.

Merck & Co., Inc. Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average estimate of analysts is for profit of 95 cents per share, a rise of 8% from the company’s actual earnings for the same quarter a year ago. The average estimate is the same as three months ago. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate was unchanged. It also has not changed during the last month. For the year, analysts are projecting net income of $3.76 per share, a rise of 9.9% from last year.

Past Earnings Performance: Last quarter, the company topped estimates by 0 cents, coming in at profit of 94 cents per share against a mean estimate of net income of 91 cents. The company fell in line with estimates in the second quarter.

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: Analysts are projecting a rise of 3.6% in revenue from the year-earlier quarter to $12.53 billion.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts are bullish on this stock with 13 analysts rating it as a buy, none rating it as a sell and four rating it as a hold.

A Look Back: In the third quarter, profit rose more than fourfold to $1.69 billion (55 cents a share) from $341.6 million (11 cents a share) the year earlier, exceeding analyst expectations. Revenue rose 8.1% to $12.02 billion from $11.12 billion.

Key Stats:

Revenue has risen the past four quarters. Revenue rose 7.1% in the second quarter from the year earlier, climbed 1.4% in the first quarter from the year-ago quarter and 19.8% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

Competitors to Watch: Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY), Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (NASDAQ:TEVA), and Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS).

Stock Price Performance: During November 29, 2011 to January 27, 2012, the stock price had risen $4.45 (13.1%) from $34.07 to $38.52. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between April 21, 2011 and May 4, 2011 when shares rose for nine-straight days, rising 7.4% (+$2.43) over that span. It saw one of its worst periods between July 21, 2011 and August 4, 2011 when shares fell for 11-straight days, falling 12.9% (-$4.56) over that span.

(Company fundamentals by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)

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