March 6, 2012 / 2:03 PM / in 6 years

Merck forecasts 1st-quarter EPS below Street view

(Reuters) - Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) said on Tuesday it expects first-quarter earnings per share to be between 95 and 98 cents, excluding items, below the average estimate on Wall Street of $1.01.

A view of the Merck & Co. campus in Linden, New Jersey March 9, 2009. REUTERS/Jeff Zelevansky

Including items, the drugmaker sees earnings per share between 52 cents and 60 cents.

With the euro exchange rate at about $1.31 in the first quarter, currency is expected to have a 1 to 2 percent unfavorable impact on sales in the first quarter.

The company reiterated its 2012 full-year forecast, calling for earnings per share between $3.75 and $3.85, excluding restructuring- and acquisition-related costs, and between $2.04 to $2.30 per share including those items.

Merck said it expects revenue at or near 2011 levels on a constant currency basis. But at current exchange rates, 2012 sales would be reduced by about 2 to 3 percent.

    Reporting By Debra Sherman; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick

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