Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) was downgraded by equities research analysts at Vetr from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Monday. They currently have a $64.84 price target on the stock.
Several other research firms also recently issued reports on MRK. Barclays PLC increased their price objective on shares of Merck & Co. from $66.00 to $72.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, September 9th. Jefferies Group raised their price target on shares of Merck & Co. from $53.00 to $57.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, August 8th. Sanford C. Bernstein reissued an “outperform” rating and issued a $74.00 price target (up from $66.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Thursday, August 11th. Morgan Stanley set a $60.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, September 13th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets raised shares of Merck & Co. from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and raised their price target for the stock from $62.00 to $72.00 in a research note on Friday, August 5th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have assigned a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of €63.37 ($70.41).
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded up 1.80% during midday trading on Monday, reaching $63.90. 20,345,855 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. Merck & Co. has a 1-year low of $47.97 and a 1-year high of $64.86. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $62.68 and its 200-day moving average is $58.56. The company has a market capitalization of $176.70 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 35.05 and a beta of 0.68.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. The business had revenue of $9.84 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.79 billion. Merck & Co. had a net margin of 13.01% and a return on equity of 23.41%. The company’s revenue was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.86 earnings per share. Analysts forecast that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 earnings per share for the current year.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th were paid a $0.46 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.88%. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 101.10%.
In related news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 5th. The shares were 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 completion of the transaction, the chairman now owns 760,877 shares in the company, valued at €47,029,807.37 ($52,255,341.52). The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of €62.07 ($68.97), for a total transaction of €2,532,456.00 ($2,813,840.00). Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 128,973 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately €8,005,354.11 ($8,894,837.90). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.05% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.
A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of MRK. Raymond James Trust N.A. increased its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 3.3% in the second quarter. Raymond James Trust N.A. now owns 337,745 shares of the company’s stock worth $19,457,000 after buying an additional 10,865 shares in the last quarter. Emerald Acquisition Ltd. purchased a new position in shares of Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth about $274,347,000. Nordea Investment Management AB increased its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 16.1% in the second quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 2,411,985 shares of the company’s stock worth $138,954,000 after buying an additional 334,806 shares in the last quarter. Orbis Allan Gray Ltd purchased a new position in shares of Merck & Co. during the first quarter worth about $239,761,000. Finally, Envestnet Asset Management Inc. increased its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 7.0% in the first quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 1,107,242 shares of the company’s stock worth $58,584,000 after buying an additional 72,808 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 72.93% of the company’s stock.
About Merck & Co.
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.
To view Vetr’s full report, visit Vetr’s official website.
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