Merck should report a first-quarter profit of 75 cents a share on revenue of $11.17 billion, according to a Thomson Reuters poll of estimates. That would be a penny higher than its profit in the first quarter of 2009.
Meanwhile, fellow drugmaker Pfizer should see first-quarter earnings of 53 cents a share on revenue of $16.57 billion. Unlike Merck, that would be a penny below its year-ago profit. Investors should watch for the contributions from the Schering-Plough acquisition, which has boosted revenue but done little to affect bottom-line growth.
Several other companies will report quarterly results before the start of trading Tuesday, including Archer-Daniels Midland (ADM - Get Report), CVS Caremark (CVS - Get Report), Mastercard (MA - Get Report), Marathon Oil (MRO - Get Report), and Sirius XM (SIRI - Get Report).On the economic front, separate reports on factory orders and pending home sales will be released at 10 a.m. ET. Economists expect the latest factory orders report to show a 0.2% decline in March after a 0.6% rise in February. Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors will likely say that pending home sales rose 5% in March, according to a Briefing.com survey of analysts, which follows an 8.2% increase in February. -- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston. Follow Robert Holmes on Twitter and become a fan of TheStreet.com on Facebook.