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Earnings Preview: Merck's Q4 to reflect Singulair patent expiration

Merck (MRK) is scheduled to report Q4 earnings before the market open on Friday February 1, with a conference call scheduled for 8:00 am ET. Merck provides various health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health, and consumer care products... EXPECTATIONS: Analysts are looking for EPS of 81c on revenue of $11.48B, according to First Call. The consensus range for EPS is 78c-86c on revenue of $11.05B-$11.98B... LAST QUARTER: Merck reported Q3 EPS of 95c against estimates of 92c on revenue of $11.49B against estimates of $11.57B. At the time of its Q3 earnings release, Merck narrowed its FY12 EPS to $3.78-$3.82 on analysts' consensus of $3.81. At that time, Merck also noted that it continues to see Q4 EPS to be lowest quarter of year, citing the fact that Q4 results will reflect full the impact of U.S. Singulair patent expiration. Pharmaceutical sales declined 5% in Q3 in spite of strong sales from Januvia and Janumet... STREET RESEARCH: In late November, Citigroup initiated Merck with a Neutral and a price target of $44. On December 20, Wells Fargo said it sees significant positive near-term pipeline news flow for the drug giant and keeps an Outperform rating on Merck... PRICE ACTION: On December 20, Merck announced the Tredaptive study did not achieve primary endpoint, sending shares down to a low of near $40. The stock has traded up since that point, and is near levels from before the disappointing study. In late afternoon trading, shares of Merck are near flat at $43.54.