Shares of pharmaceutical giant Merck (NYSE: MRK) rose 3% before the market hours on Tuesday after the company reported second-quarter results that were far ahead of analysts’ expectations.
Boosted by the strength of its cancer drugs, worldwide sales increased 12% to 11.8 billion, which surpassed the average analysts’ expectation of $10.96 billion.
Sales of key oncology drug Keytruda jumped 58% to $2.63 billion, lifting the overall pharmaceutical sales up 13%.
International pharmaceutical sales represented 55% of total sales in the quarter. Performance in international markets was led by China, which had pharmaceutical sales of $745 million representing growth of 41%.
Earnings, excluding one-time items, grew 23% to $1.30 per share, 14 cents higher than the street view.
Merck raised its full-year 2019 revenue range to be between $45.2 billion and $46.2 billion. Meanwhile, it reduced its guidance for GAAP EPS range to between $3.78 and $3.88, to take into account charges related to the acquisition of Peloton.
Excluding one-time items, earnings for this period is expected between $4.84 and $4.94.
The stock has gained 27% in the trailing 52 weeks and 9% since the beginning of this year.