Leerink Swann Reaffirms Market Perform Rating for Merck & Co. (MRK)
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK)‘s stock had its “market perform” rating restated by analysts at Leerink Swann in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday. They presently have a $65.00 price objective on the stock.
Several other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports on the stock. Barclays PLC restated an “overweight” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Wednesday. Vetr lowered shares of Merck & Co. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $64.84 target price for the company. in a research note on Monday. Argus reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $65.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Wednesday, September 14th. Morgan Stanley set a $60.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, September 13th. Finally, Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $56.00 target price (down previously from $57.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Monday, September 12th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have assigned a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of €63.80 ($70.89).
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded down 0.121% during trading on Wednesday, hitting $61.855. 2,855,957 shares of the company were exchanged. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $62.63 and its 200-day moving average is $58.58. The company has a market capitalization of $171.04 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 33.930 and a beta of 0.68. Merck & Co. has a 12 month low of $47.97 and a 12 month high of $64.86.
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Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. Merck & Co. had a net margin of 13.01% and a return on equity of 23.41%. The firm earned $9.84 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.79 billion. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.86 earnings per share. Merck & Co.’s revenue was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts anticipate that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 earnings per share for the current year.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 15th were issued a dividend of $0.46 per share. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.97%. Merck & Co.’s payout ratio is currently 101.10%.
In other Merck & Co. news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of the firm’s 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 transaction of €24,229,520.00 ($26,921,688.89). Following the sale, the chairman now owns 760,877 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €47,029,807.37 ($52,255,341.52). The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of the firm’s 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 sale, the insider now directly owns 128,973 shares in the company, valued at approximately €8,005,354.11 ($8,894,837.90). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.
A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 1.9% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 174,819,694 shares of the company’s stock worth $10,071,362,000 after buying an additional 3,242,254 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 0.7% in the second quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 74,363,785 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,284,098,000 after buying an additional 535,407 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 4.0% in the second quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 44,732,600 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,577,045,000 after buying an additional 1,701,520 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Group LTD boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 2.0% in the first quarter. BlackRock Group LTD now owns 27,068,748 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,432,206,000 after buying an additional 525,220 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 6.2% in the second quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 26,224,184 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,510,776,000 after buying an additional 1,531,565 shares during the last quarter. 72.93% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.
Merck & Co. Company Profile
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.
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