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.
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.