The U.S. stock market pressed modestly higher earlier this morning, but generally retreated in the afternoon. At the end of the session, the major averages were in negative territory, save for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which ticked up slightly.
Merck, (MRK) the New Jersey-based drugmaker and Dow-30 component, has reported first-quarter earnings of $0.40 a share, versus $0.33 in the comparable period of 2015. The year-over-year increase was driven by continued reductions in marketing, administrative, and research and development costs, which more than offset a low-single-digit pullback on the top line.
Pfizer (PFE), the New York-based drugmaker and a Dow-30 component, has reported first-quarter earnings of $0.49 a share, versus $0.38 in the comparable period of 2015. While the company spent considerably more on production, administration and marketing during the quarter, the impact was more than offset by a double-digit advance on the top line.