Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) – Equities researchers at SunTrust Banks raised their Q3 2018 earnings per share (EPS) estimates for Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday, October 17th. SunTrust Banks analyst J. Boris now forecasts that the company will earn $1.16 per share for the quarter, up from their previous forecast of $1.14. SunTrust Banks has a “Buy” rating and a $77.00 price target on the stock. SunTrust Banks also issued estimates for Merck & Co., Inc.’s Q4 2018 earnings at $1.02 EPS, FY2021 earnings at $5.55 EPS and FY2022 earnings at $5.83 EPS.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 27th. The company reported $1.06 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.03. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 32.68% and a net margin of 3.67%. The business had revenue of $10.47 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.28 billion. During the same period last year, the business posted $1.01 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 5.4% compared to the same quarter last year.
A number of other brokerages also recently issued reports on MRK. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 16th. Barclays lifted their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $75.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, September 7th. Guggenheim started coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Monday, October 8th. They issued a “buy” rating on the stock. Credit Suisse Group lifted their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $71.00 to $81.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Thursday, October 11th. Finally, Morgan Stanley set a $74.00 price target on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, August 23rd. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fifteen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co., Inc. currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $70.24.
Shares of NYSE:MRK opened at $72.35 on Friday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12-month low of $52.83 and a 12-month high of $72.89. The firm has a market capitalization of $194.69 billion, a PE ratio of 18.18, a P/E/G ratio of 2.23 and a beta of 0.81. The company has a current ratio of 1.33, a quick ratio of 1.04 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61.
Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Rockland Trust Co. acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth about $3,949,000. Sawyer & Company Inc lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.7% during the 2nd quarter. Sawyer & Company Inc now owns 22,984 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,395,000 after acquiring an additional 2,215 shares during the period. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 37.0% during the 2nd quarter. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC now owns 122,748 shares of the company’s stock worth $7,451,000 after acquiring an additional 33,153 shares during the period. Jennison Associates LLC lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 11.0% during the 2nd quarter. Jennison Associates LLC now owns 924,946 shares of the company’s stock worth $56,144,000 after acquiring an additional 91,879 shares during the period. Finally, HL Financial Services LLC lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.7% during the 2nd quarter. HL Financial Services LLC now owns 217,281 shares of the company’s stock worth $13,189,000 after acquiring an additional 1,540 shares during the period. 72.31% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
In other news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 279,851 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, September 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $70.08, for a total value of $19,611,958.08. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now owns 971,801 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $68,103,814.08. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. acquired 666,666 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 1st. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $15.00 per share, with a total value of $9,999,990.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 929,360 shares of company stock valued at $64,370,599 in the last three months. Insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.
The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 5th. Stockholders of record on Monday, September 17th were given a $0.48 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, September 14th. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.65%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 48.24%.
About Merck & Co., Inc.
Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates in four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, asthma, nasal allergy symptoms, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, fungal, intra-abdominal infections, hypertension, arthritis and pain, inflammatory, osteoporosis, and fertility diseases.
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