Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Receives Consensus Rating of “Buy” from Analysts

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) has earned an average rating of “Buy” from the nineteen analysts that are covering the firm, Marketbeat reports. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold recommendation and fourteen have assigned a buy recommendation to the company. The average 12-month price target among brokers that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $72.89.

MRK has been the topic of a number of recent research reports. Guggenheim initiated coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Monday, October 8th. They issued a “buy” rating on the stock. Morgan Stanley set a $74.00 target price on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 23rd. Zacks Investment Research lowered Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, October 1st. SunTrust Banks reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $77.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Thursday, August 16th. Finally, Barclays lifted their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $75.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, September 7th.

NYSE MRK opened at $73.12 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of $196.47 billion, a PE ratio of 18.37, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.98 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. Merck & Co., Inc. has a one year low of $52.83 and a one year high of $74.49.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 34.20% and a net margin of 8.44%. The business had revenue of $10.79 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.87 billion. Research analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 17th will be paid a $0.55 dividend. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.01%. This is an increase from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. The ex-dividend date is Friday, December 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 48.24%.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its board has authorized a share buyback plan on Thursday, October 25th that authorizes the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to purchase up to 5.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, SVP Ashley Watson sold 47,036 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, October 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $74.33, for a total value of $3,496,185.88. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 32,990 shares in the company, valued at $2,452,146.70. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. purchased 666,666 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, October 1st. The stock was bought at an average price of $15.00 per share, with a total value of $9,999,990.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 739,564 shares of company stock valued at $52,645,082. Corporate insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of MRK. Clearwater Capital Advisors LLC bought a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 1st quarter worth approximately $103,000. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 208.4% in the 1st quarter. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. now owns 1,983 shares of the company’s stock valued at $108,000 after purchasing an additional 1,340 shares during the period. Taylor Wealth Management Partners bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter valued at $110,000. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 155.2% in the 2nd quarter. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV now owns 1,832 shares of the company’s stock valued at $111,000 after purchasing an additional 1,114 shares during the period. Finally, Well Done LLC bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the 1st quarter valued at $115,000. Institutional investors own 72.33% of the company’s stock.

Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile

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

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