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Merck & Co. swings to profit on lower charges

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. - Drugmaker Merck & Co. (MRK) has swung to a fourth-quarter profit because of lower acquisition and restructuring charges and slightly higher sales.

The maker of allergy and asthma drug Singulair says net income was $1.51 billion, or 49 cents per share. A year earlier, Merck lost $531 million, or 17 cents a share.

Adjusted income was $2.98 billion, or 97 cents a share, up from $2.76 billion, or 88 cents a share. The earnings topped expectations for 95 cents per share.

Revenue rose 1.6 percent $12.29 billion, short of expectations for $12.52 billion.

Merck forecast 2012 earnings per share of $3.75 to $3.85, excluding charges. Analysts expect $3.83.

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