U.S. Markets close in 2 hrs 1 min

Merck KGaA's Q2 profit bolstered by drug milestone payments

FRANKFURT, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Germany's Merck KGaA posted a gain in quarterly earnings that was slightly higher than market expectations, driven by drug development milestone payments from partners Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline .

Second-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), adjusted for special items, gained 23.8% to 1.14 billion euros ($1.28 billion), it said on Thursday, slightly above the analyst estimate of 1.11 billion euros in a Refinitiv poll.

Merck confirmed its guidance for an underlying increase of 10-13% in 2019 EBITDA and adjusted for one-off items but now sees a positive effect of 0% to +2% from currencies.

($1 = 0.8921 euros) (Reporting by Ludwig Burger Editing by Thomas Seythal)