Pfizer Earnings Miss Follows Amgen: Is Merck Next?


Drug giant Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) this morning reported adjusted earnings and revenues that missed analysts estimates, and the stock is down more than 3%. Last week competitor Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) also missed estimates, dragging Pfizer and other companies lower along with it. Tomorrow we get results from Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK), so it is worth a look at what is happening.

In Pfizer's case, the loss in 2011 of patent protection on its Lipitor product has punched a serious hole in the company's revenues. Sales of Lipitor in the first quarter were down 55% year-over-year. Pfizer also felt a negative impact from the weaker Japanese yen.

Amgen experienced weaker sales from two of its anemia drugs, a drop that could not be overcome by higher sales of its new osteoporosis drug. Sales of its best-selling drug for rheumatoid arthritis were also slightly below expectations.

Merck is expected to post earnings per share (EPS) of $0.79 on revenues of $11.09 billion when it reports earnings tomorrow before the markets open. Three months ago, the consensus estimate for quarterly earnings was $0.90. In the first quarter of 2012, Merck posted EPS of $0.85 on revenues of $11.73 billion.

Shares of all three stocks reached a new 52-week high last week, before starting to slide following Amgen's report. Amgen is down about 5.5% since reporting results, Pfizer is down about 4.7% and Merck holds onto a tenuous 0.3% gain. For the past year, though, Amgen is up 48%, Pfizer is up 35.5% and Merck is up more than 26%.

Shares of Pfizer are down about 3.5% today, at $29.36 in a 52-week range of $21.40 to $31.15. Shares of Amgen are down about 2.2%, at $104.29 in a 52-week range of $67.61 to $114.95. Shares of Merck are down 1.3%, at $47.16 in a 52-week range of $37.02 to $48.79.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Drug companies, Earnings Tagged: AMGN, MRK, PFE