Merck Cuts First-Quarter Forecast on Venezuela Currency

Merck & Co. said profit in the first quarter will be reduced by 5 cents a share because of a devaluation of Venezuela’s currency.

Earnings excluding one-time items will be 76 cents to 78 cents a share, the Whitehouse Station, New Jersey-based company said today in a statement. Analysts had been expecting 86 cents, the average of 14 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The devaluation of the currency won’t change Merck’s full-year earnings outlook, the company said. The Venezuelan government said on Feb. 8 that it intended to devalue its currency, moving the exchange rate to 4.30 bolivars per dollar from 6.30 bolivars per dollar.

Merck fell less than 1 percent to $41.15 at the close of New York trading.

(Adds closing share price in fourth paragraph.)
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