Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Upgraded to “Buy” by DZ Bank

DZ Bank upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report published on Tuesday.

Other equities analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. Morgan Stanley lowered shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from an overweight rating to an equal weight rating and set a $56.00 target price on the stock. in a report on Monday, October 30th. Credit Suisse Group reduced their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $67.00 to $66.00 and set an outperform rating on the stock in a report on Monday, February 5th. UBS Group reduced their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $72.00 to $67.00 and set a buy rating on the stock in a report on Monday, October 30th. ValuEngine lowered shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Friday, February 2nd. Finally, BMO Capital Markets set a $70.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, October 18th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the company. Merck & Co., Inc. currently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $66.88.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE MRK) opened at $54.90 on Tuesday. The firm has a market cap of $151,015.55, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.93, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.49 and a beta of 0.75. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $53.36 and a 1-year high of $66.80. The company has a quick ratio of 1.16, a current ratio of 1.43 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its earnings results on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.94 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $10.43 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.48 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 6.40% and a return on equity of 27.73%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.89 EPS. equities research analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.15 earnings per share for the current year.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase program on Tuesday, November 28th that permits the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are generally a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 6th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 15th will be issued a $0.48 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 14th. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.50%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 206.45%.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total value of $3,697,800.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 101,484 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,254,458.92. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director Wendell P. Weeks sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.57, for a total transaction of $267,850.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 5,100 shares in the company, valued at approximately $273,207. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 82,500 shares of company stock worth $5,026,025 in the last quarter. 0.25% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Honeywell International Inc. increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.8% in the 3rd quarter. Honeywell International Inc. now owns 633,700 shares of the company’s stock worth $40,576,000 after purchasing an additional 100,500 shares during the last quarter. Hanson McClain Inc. increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 65.0% in the 2nd quarter. Hanson McClain Inc. now owns 7,662 shares of the company’s stock worth $491,000 after purchasing an additional 3,019 shares during the last quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.3% in the 3rd quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 524,481 shares of the company’s stock worth $33,582,000 after purchasing an additional 81,290 shares during the last quarter. Hartland & Co. LLC increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 9.5% in the 2nd quarter. Hartland & Co. LLC now owns 44,558 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,856,000 after purchasing an additional 3,861 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Crescent Grove Advisors LLC bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter worth about $1,092,000. 72.85% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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About Merck & Co., Inc.

Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services and Alliances. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.

Analyst Recommendations for Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

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