Merck Reaffirms Guidance

The drugmaker also announces a diabetes drug deal with rival Bristol-Myers Squibb.
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One week after raising guidance for the second quarter and full year,


(MRK) - Get Report

Wednesday reaffirmed it.

The New Jersey-based drugmaker said it expects EPS of 78 cents to 82 cents in the current quarter and $3.11 to $3.27 for all of 2004.

Those forecasts compare favorably with analysts' consensus estimates of 79 cents a share and $3.14 a share, respectively, according to Thompson First Call.

Merck last week also reported first-quarter earnings that were less than a year ago on slightly lower-than-expected revenue, but its net income was a penny ahead of estimates. The company earned $1.62 billion, or 73 cents a share, in the first quarter compared with earnings of $1.71 billion, or 76 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue rose 1% to $5.63 billion.

Merck offered the guidance as it announced an agreement with industry rival

Bristol-Myers Squibb

(BMY) - Get Report

, which reported better-than-expected earnings today, to co-develop and market a diabetes drug.

Merck shares closed at $47.25 Tuesday.