Bank of America Corp. upgraded shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Thursday morning. The brokerage currently has $70.00 price objective on the stock, up from their prior price objective of $57.00.
A number of other brokerages have also recently weighed in on MRK. Vetr cut Merck & Co. from a buy rating to a hold rating and set a $64.84 target price on the stock. in a report on Monday. Jefferies Group lifted their target price on Merck & Co. from $53.00 to $57.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Monday, August 8th. Deutsche Bank AG lifted their target price on Merck & Co. from $58.00 to $59.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Monday, August 8th. Piper Jaffray Cos. reiterated a neutral rating and issued a $62.00 target price (up previously from $58.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Monday, August 8th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group AG upgraded Merck & Co. from a neutral rating to an outperform rating and lifted their target price for the company from $62.00 to $73.00 in a report on Sunday, August 7th. Twelve analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and ten have given a buy rating to the company. Merck & Co. has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of €65.05 ($72.28).
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) remained flat at $62.51 on Thursday. The stock had a trading volume of 3,838,119 shares. The company has a market cap of $172.85 billion, a PE ratio of 34.29 and a beta of 0.68. Merck & Co. has a 12-month low of $47.97 and a 12-month high of $64.86. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $62.57 and its 200-day moving average price is $58.63.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 23.41% and a net margin of 13.01%. The firm had revenue of $9.84 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.79 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.86 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts predict that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 EPS for the current year.
The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 15th were paid a $0.46 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.94%. Merck & Co.’s payout ratio is currently 101.10%.
In other news, EVP Clark Golestani sold 3,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of €63.03 ($70.03), for a total transaction of €189,090.00 ($210,100.00). The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of €61.81 ($68.68), for a total value of €24,229,520.00 ($26,921,688.89). Following the transaction, the chairman now owns 760,877 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €47,029,807.37 ($52,255,341.52). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.05% of the stock is owned by company insiders.
Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of MRK. Acrospire Investment Management LLC increased its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 5.9% in the second quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 1,800 shares of the company’s stock valued at $104,000 after buying an additional 100 shares in the last quarter. Roble Belko & Company Inc increased its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 124.7% in the second quarter. Roble Belko & Company Inc now owns 1,802 shares of the company’s stock valued at $104,000 after buying an additional 1,000 shares in the last quarter. Americafirst Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co. during the second quarter valued at about $115,000. NewSquare Capital LLC increased its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 14.2% in the second quarter. NewSquare Capital LLC now owns 2,104 shares of the company’s stock valued at $121,000 after buying an additional 261 shares in the last quarter. Finally, First New York Securities LLC NY acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co. during the second quarter valued at about $121,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.93% of the company’s stock.
Merck & Co. Company Profile
Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, which it markets directly and through its joint ventures. It operates through one segment, Pharmaceutical. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.
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