Headlines about Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) have trended somewhat positive on Thursday, InfoTrie Sentiment Analysis reports. The research group identifies positive and negative media coverage by monitoring more than six thousand news and blog sources in real time. The firm ranks coverage of publicly-traded companies on a scale of -5 to 5, with scores closest to five being the most favorable. Merck & Co., Inc. earned a media sentiment score of 1.18 on their scale. InfoTrie also assigned news articles about the company an news buzz score of 10 out of 10, meaning that recent media coverage is extremely likely to have an effect on the company’s share price in the next few days.
Here are some of the headlines that may have impacted Merck & Co., Inc.’s ranking:
A number of equities research analysts have recently weighed in on the company. Wolfe Research assumed coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Tuesday, October 23rd. They set an “outperform” rating for the company. BMO Capital Markets boosted their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $82.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Monday, October 22nd. ValuEngine upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 18th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $79.00 target price for the company in a research report on Wednesday, September 26th. Finally, Citigroup boosted their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $79.00 to $84.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 31st. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $73.65.
Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock opened at $78.21 on Thursday. The company has a quick ratio of 1.15, a current ratio of 1.44 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12 month low of $52.83 and a 12 month high of $80.19. The firm has a market cap of $213.92 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.65, a P/E/G ratio of 2.15 and a beta of 0.71.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.14 by $0.05. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 34.48% and a net margin of 8.44%. The business had revenue of $10.79 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.87 billion. As a group, equities research analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase program on Thursday, October 25th that authorizes the company to buyback $10.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to repurchase up to 5.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are usually an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Investors of record on Monday, December 17th will be paid a dividend of $0.55 per share. The ex-dividend date is Friday, December 14th. This is a boost from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.81%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 48.24%.
In related news, EVP Richard R. Deluca sold 25,467 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction on Tuesday, October 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $72.00, for a total transaction of $1,833,624.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 82,135 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $5,913,720. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 36,218 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.14, for a total value of $2,721,420.52. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 82,481 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $6,197,622.34. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 1,279,104 shares of company stock valued at $92,845,846. 0.32% of the stock is owned by insiders.
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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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