Why Merck (MRK) Stock Is Up Today

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Merck (MRK) stock is gaining Tuesday after the pharmaceuticals company reported higher profits in its first quarter.

By early afternoon, shares were up 3% to $58.36.

The second-largest drugmaker in the U.S. earned an adjusted 88 cents a share, 9 cents higher than analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected. Profitability was boosted over the quarter after research spending was cut 20 PERCENT to $1.5 billion.

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However, total sales fell 4% to $10.26 billion, missing analyst forecasts by around $177 million. Results on the top line suffered from increased competition from generic brands particularly for its allergy and asthma treatments.

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