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Why Merck (MRK) Slipped Today

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Merck (MRK) slipped 2.6% to $45.35 in Monday trading after posting lower-than-expected third-quarter figures. Though earnings of 92 cents beat estimates by 4 cents, revenue of $11 billion missed expectations by $120 million according to analysts surveyed by Yahoo! Finance.

Sales of Merck's most profitable product, its diabetes treatment Januvia, dropped 5% to $927 million, while total pharmaceutical revenues was down 2% year on year to $9.48 billion.

"In order for us to grow next year, what we have to do is see a change in that volume," said President of Global Human Health Adam Schechter on a conference call, referring to Januvia sales. "If that volume continues to decline, obviously it's going to be a problem for us to grow."

Schechter credits waning sales to decreased market share and an increase in new competitors in Januvia's drug class. 

For full year 2013, the global health care company anticipates earnings between $3.48 and $3.52, higher than analyst expectations of $3.47. However, forecasts indicate revenues will drop between 5 and 6%.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Merck & Co as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. The team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate Merck & Co (MRK) a BUY. This is driven by some important positives, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."

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