Merck Profit Jumps on Sales of New Vaccines, Medicines; Forecast Boosted

Drug developer Merck & Co. (MRK) said Monday its second-quarter profit jumped nearly 12 percent on an across-the-board rise in drug sales, and the company boosted earnings guidance for the year.

The company earned $1.68 billion, or 77 cents per share, compared with a profit of $1.5 billion, or 69 cents per share, during the same period a year prior. Revenue rose 6 percent to $6.11 billion from $5.77 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected profit of 72 cents per share on revenue of $5.77 billion.

Sales of the company's asthma treatment Singulair rose 15 percent to $1.1 billion while sales of Zetia and Vytorin rose 30 percent to $1.3 billion. Sales of hypertension drugs Cozaar and Hyzaar rose 8 percent to $847 million.

Merck raised its full-year guidance, excluding restructuring and layoff charges, to between $3 and $3.10 per share from the previous estimate of $2.75 to $2.85 per share. Including charges, the company expects profit between $2.80 and $2.95 per share.