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Healthy Outlook From Merck

The drugmaker raises its full-year forecast.


(MRK) - Get Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Report

beat analysts' profit targets for the third quarter and raised its earnings estimates for the full year.

Excluding items, the drugmaker earned 75 cents cents a share in the latest quarter, 6 cents better than Wall Street expected. Net income, including items, rose to $1.53 billion in the third quarter from $940.6 million in the same period a year ago.

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Sales climbed 12% from last year to $6.07 billion and were in line with estimates.

Looking forward, Merck lifted its 2007 profit outlook, saying it should earn $3.08 to $3.14 a share, before items are counted. Analysts are looking for $3.07, according to Thomson Financial.

The company said Monday that using 2005 as a base year, it remains on track to deliver double-digit compound annual earnings per share growth, excluding nonrecurring items and restructuring charges, by 2010.

Shares of Merck rose 1.3% in premarket trading.