Merck and Schering-Plough earnings top estimates; is there growth story here?

Merck & Co. (MRK) today reported second-quarter earnings. While the pharmaceutical giant's profit fell 12 percent, it still managed beat analyst earnings forecasts thanks to a rebound in sales of its asthma drug Singulair, among other things.

Merck earned $1.59 billion, or 74 cents per share, compared to $1.77 billion, or 82 cents per share, in the year-earlier period. Excluding special items, it earned 83 cents, better than the 77 cents analysts had projected according to Reuters Estimates. Revenue fell three percent to $5.90 billion, but that was better than the $5.20 billion analysts had forecast. Excluding the impact of foreign exchange, total revenue would have actually increased three percent from the second quarter of 2008.