Merck fourth-quarter sales just miss Wall St. estimate


(Reuters) - Merck & Co Inc reported lower sales, just below Wall Street estimates, hurt by competition from cheaper generic medicines.

The second-biggest U.S. drugmaker said on Wednesday it earned $781 million (479 million pounds), or 26 cents per share, in the fourth quarter. That compared with $908 million, or 30 cents per share, in the year-earlier period.

Company revenue fell 4 percent to $11.32 billion. Wall Street was expecting $11.36 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

(Reporting by Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)