Merck (MRK -0.36%) stock was the very picture of health on Thursday. The big pharmaceutical company's stock posted a nearly 5% gain on price, thanks to a first-quarter earnings report that was well-received by investors.
Merck revealed that it took in $15.9 billion in sales for the period, a robust 50% higher on a year-over-year basis. Non-GAAP (adjusted) net income swelled even more, rising 84% to over $5.4 billion, or $2.14 per share.
Both line items were far above the average analyst estimate. Prognosticators tracking Merck stock had been modeling barely over $14.7 billion on the top line and $1.83 in adjusted, per-share net profit.
In the earnings release, Merck quoted its CEO Robert Davis as saying that, "Robust first quarter performance was driven by significant clinical advancements in our research pipeline and effective commercial execution across a broad set of key growth drivers."
Davis also remarked that, "We remain focused on driving our strategy, which is led by science, and are confident in the durability of our growth prospects."
Merck clearly believes this means that better-than-expected growth is in the cards. It has raised and tightened its guidance for both revenue and profitability for the entirety of 2022.
The new projection for sales for the year is $56.9 billion to $58.1 billion. If achieved, it would mean at least a 17% improvement over the 2021 figure. As for adjusted, per-share earnings, they should land at $7.24 to $7.36, which is a minimum of 20% above last year's $6.02.