Merck, Gilead, and Vertex Trading Up as Investors Await Earnings

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) will unveil its latest earnings on Thursday, February 2, 2012. 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.

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

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).

Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) will unveil its latest earnings on Thursday, February 2, 2012. The average estimate of analysts is for net income of $1 per share, a rise of 11.1% from the company’s actual earnings for the same quarter a year ago. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved down from $1.02. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved down. It has been unchanged at $1 during the last month. Analysts are projecting profit to rise by 6.6% versus last year to $3.74.

Last quarter, the company topped expectations by one cent, coming in at profit of 97 cents per share versus a mean estimate of net income of 96 cents per share. This followed two straight quarters of missing estimates. Analysts are projecting a rise of 9% in revenue from the year-earlier quarter to $2.18 billion.

Competitors to Watch: GlaxoSmithKline plc (NYSE:GSK), Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY), Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:IDIX), Trimeris, Inc. (NASDAQ:TRMS), BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:BCRX), and Hemispherx BioPharma, Inc (AMEX:HEB).

Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:VRTX) will unveil its latest earnings on Thursday, February 2, 2012. The average estimate of analysts is for profit of 82 cents per share, a swing from a loss of 91 cents in the year earlier quarter. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved down from 89 cents. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved up. It has dropped from 95 cents during the last month. For the year, analysts are projecting net income of 17 cents per share, a swing from net loss of $3.53 last year.

The company has beaten estimates the last two quarters and is coming off a quarter where it topped the forecasts by 38 cents, reporting profit of 57 cents per share against a mean estimate of net income of 19 cents. In the second quarter, the company exceeded forecasts by 11 cents with a loss of 82 cents versus a mean estimate of net loss of 93 cents. Analysts are projecting a rise of 704.9% in revenue from the year-earlier quarter to $527.4 million.

Competitors to Watch: Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), GlaxoSmithKline plc (NYSE:GSK), InterMune, Inc. (NASDAQ:ITMN), Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD), Pharmasset, Inc. (NASDAQ:VRUS), Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:IDIX), Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY), Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), and Human Genome Sciences (NASDAQ:HGSI).

To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Hoffman at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com