On Monday, earnings and a variety of news related to drug-eluting stents weren't enough to dislodge flat health indices. Excluding items, Merck ( MRK) earned 75 cents a share in the latest quarter, beating the consensus of 69 cents a share. Net income, including items, rose to $1.53 billion in the third quarter from $940.6 million in the same period a year ago. 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. Shares rose $1.37, or 2.6%, to $54.49. On the other hand, Schering-Plough ( SGP) earned 28 cents a share (excluding acquisition-related items and an upfront R&D payment), on revenue of $2.8 million. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were expecting 30 cents a share on revenue of $2.87 million. Shares fell $4.25, or 13%, to $28.44. Merck and Schering-Plough are both components of the Amex pharmaceutical index, which was down 2.48, or 0.7%, to 341.24. Away from earnings, stents -- the mesh tubes sometimes frosted with antibiotic coating used to prop open clogged arteries -- have seen a decline in sales, but not in clinical trials or news. First Medtronic ( MDT) received the CE mark for the commercial sale of the Endeavor Resolute Drug-Eluting Coronary Stent in Europe and plans to launch the product outside the U.S. earlier than originally projected.
Stocks soar as the gross domestic product rises at an annualized rate of 3.5% in the third quarter and continuing jobless claims fall. Gregg Greenberg recaps the action in The Real Story video (above).