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Merck & Co. Q2 profit up YOY; EPS guidance raised

Merck & Co. Inc., maker of the blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda, said its second-quarter earnings rose year over year, and raised its income guidance for 2018.

The Kenilworth, N.J.-based drugmaker said its second-quarter non-GAAP net income was $2.85 billion, or $1.06 per share, up from $2.78 billion, or $1.01 per share, a year earlier.

The S&P Capital IQ normalized EPS consensus estimate for the second quarter was $1.03.

Total sales for the quarter reached $10.47 billion, up 5% year over year from $9.93 billion.

Pharmaceutical sales for the quarter rose 6% year over year to $9.28 billion, driven by growth in oncology, vaccines and hospital acute care but offset by lower sales in virology and loss of market exclusivity for some products. Second-quarter animal health sales rose 14% year over year to $1.09 billion.

Merck's second-quarter GAAP net income was $1.71 billion, or 63 cents per share, down from $1.95 billion, or 71 cents per share, in the same period last year.

Merck narrowed its revenue outlook range for 2018 to between $42 billion and $42.8 billion, compared to a previous range of $41.8 billion and $43.0 billion.

The drugmaker raised its non-GAAP EPS guidance range for 2018, now targeting between $4.22 and $4.30 compared to $4.16 to $4.28 previously.

The S&P Capital IQ normalized EPS consensus estimate for full-year 2018 is $4.24.

On a GAAP basis, the company expects to post an income of $2.51 per share to $2.59 per share, which is higher than the $2.45 per share to $2.57 per share expected previously.