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Stock Alert: Merck Is Sliding Nearly 4%

Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) is losing nearly 3 percent in early trading on Wednesday as it announced a plan to spin-off Women's Health, Trusted Legacy Brands and Biosimilars Products into a new company.

Merck will retain its cancer drugs, including blockbuster Keytruda, along with its hospital, vaccines and animal health businesses.

The stock is currently down 3.51 percent at $85.26.

On Wednesday morning, the shares opened at $88.43 and slipped below 50-day moving average, touching as low as $84.64.The shares have been trading above 200-day moving range, and closed at $88.36 on more than average volume of 14.379 million shares.

The global innovator of medicines and vaccines reported 29 percent increase in fourth quarter earnings, while its sales rose 8 percent from the prior year. The company reported net profit attributable to the company of $2.36 billion from last year's $1.83 billion, with earning per share improving to $0.92 from $0.69 in the previous year.

On an adjusted basis, earnings were $2.98 billion or $1.16 per share compared to $2.75 billion or $1.04 per share in the previous year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $1.15 per share for the fourth-quarter.

Sales for the forth-quarter came in at $11.87 billion from $11.00 billion last year. Wall Street analysts were looking for revenue of $11.98 billion. Anti-PD-1 therapy Keytruda recorded sales growth of 45 percent to $3.11 billion from the prior year.

Looking ahead, Merck sees full-year 2020 earnings per share to be between $4.57 and $4.72, while adjusted earnings per share in a range of $5.62 - $5.77, including an approximately 1.5% negative impact from foreign exchange. Analysts expect annual earnings of $5.61 per share.

Full-year 2020 revenue is seen between $48.8 billion and $50.3 billion, including a negative impact from foreign exchange of less than 1%. Analysts expect revenues of $49.53 billion for 2020.

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