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Merck & Co. (MRK) Hits Six-Year High Despite Lackluster Fourth-Quarter Earnings

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Merck & Co.  (MRK - Get Report) was rising 1.42% to $54.27 on Wednesday morning and hit a six-year high despite the pharmaceutical company's lackluster fourth-quarter earnings report.

The company reported a 14% decline in profit thanks to competition from generics, which sliced into sales of some of its more high-profile medicines. Furthermore, a less-than-favorable exchange rate also decreased overseas revenue.

Merck posted net income of $781 million, or 26 cents a share, in the fourth quarter, down from $908 million, or 30 cents per share, in the same period one year earlier. Revenue also dropped 4% to $11.32 billion, which fell short of analysts' expectations of $11.36 billion.

Despite this, the stock still hit $55.20 on Wednesday, its highest point in more than six years.

In other news, Merck announced three separate collaboration agreements on Wednesday to quicken its cancer-immunotherapy program.

TheStreet Ratings team rates MERCK & CO as a "buy" with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate MERCK & CO (MRK) a BUY. This is driven by several positive factors, 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, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."

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