Merck 1st-quarter profit tops estimate, but revenue misses

April 29 Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:23am EDT

April 29 (Reuters) - Merck & Co Inc reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings, helped by cost cuts and asset sales, but revenue came in slightly below expectations.

The No. 2 U.S. drugmaker said on Tuesday it earned $1.70 billion, or 57 cents per share, in the first quarter, compared with $1.59 billion, or 52 cents, in the year-earlier period.

Excluding special items, Merck earned 88 cents per share. The average analyst expected 79 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Merck's global revenue fell 4 percent to $10.26 billion, hurt by generic competition for its Singulair treatment for allergy and asthma. Wall Street expected $10.44 billion. (Reporting by Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)