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), CVS Caremark (CVS), Mastercard (MA), Marathon Oil (MRO), and Sirius XM (SIRI).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.
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