Merck Lifts Guidance, Sales Driven by Diabetes Treatment

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Merck ( MRK) raised the lower end of its full-year guidance as its topped analysts' estimates for the third quarter.

The company raised the low end of its previous full-year earnings estimate range and now expects $3.72 to $3.76 a share. Merck said it expects to see revenue growth for the year in the mid-single-digits range.

The company posted third-quarter earnings excluding items of $2.91 billion, or 94 cents a share, compared to $2.65 billion, or 85 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue was up 8% to $12 billion.

Analysts were expecting earnings per share of 91 cents on revenue of $11.91 billion.

Revenue was driven by the success of the company's combined diabetes treatment Januvia/Janument. The company reported worldwide sales grew 41% to $1.2 billion in the third quarter driven by strong growth in all regions.

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Sales of asthma drug Singulair grew 10% from the third quarter of 2010 to $1.3 billion.

--Written by Carlton Wilkinson