Summary Box: Merck swings to profit in 4th quarter

AP News
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Posted: Feb 02, 2012 4:44 PM
Summary Box: Merck swings to profit in 4th quarter

BACK IN BLACK: Higher sales of most key drugs and lower charges push Merck & Co. back to a fourth-quarter profit. Adjusted income of $2.98 billion, or 97 cents a share, beat expectations, but sales were a tad short.

TOUGH ROAD: Merck is aiming for 2012 sales near its 2011 level of $48 billion. That will be tricky with its top-seller, allergy and asthma medicine Singulair, getting U.S. generic competition in August.

ANALYSTS' TAKE: Some call it a decent quarter; one says it was solid. They have "Buy" ratings due to Merck's high dividend, continued cost-cutting and pipeline potential.