Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) – Investment analysts at Jefferies Group lifted their FY2019 earnings per share estimates for shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday. Jefferies Group analyst J. Holford now expects that the company will earn $4.20 per share for the year, up from their prior estimate of $4.16. Jefferies Group currently has a “Hold” rating and a $55.00 target price on the stock. Jefferies Group also issued estimates for Merck & Co., Inc.’s FY2020 earnings at $4.39 EPS and FY2022 earnings at $4.94 EPS.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its earnings results on Friday, October 27th. The company reported $1.11 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.08. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 11.60% and a return on equity of 27.08%. The firm had revenue of $10.33 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.54 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $1.07 EPS. The business’s revenue was down 2.0% on a year-over-year basis.
Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) traded down $0.04 on Wednesday, reaching $62.03. 21,889,698 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 12,580,000. Merck & Co., Inc. has a one year low of $53.63 and a one year high of $66.80. The company has a market cap of $169,180.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 60.22, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.93 and a beta of 0.76. 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. declared that its Board of Directors has initiated 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 reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are often an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.
The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, January 8th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 15th were issued a $0.48 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, December 14th. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.10%. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.47. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is currently 186.41%.
In other news, Director Thomas H. Glocer sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $56.20, for a total value of $281,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, January 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total transaction of $3,697,800.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 101,484 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,254,458.92. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 82,500 shares of company stock valued at $5,039,175. Company insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.
Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of MRK. Janus Henderson Group PLC grew its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 172.3% in the 3rd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 6,705,564 shares of the company’s stock worth $429,347,000 after buying an additional 4,243,246 shares during the last quarter. Capital International Investors grew its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 55.3% in the 3rd quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 9,623,382 shares of the company’s stock worth $616,185,000 after buying an additional 3,428,400 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.7% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 194,144,317 shares of the company’s stock worth $12,442,709,000 after buying an additional 3,312,459 shares during the last quarter. Stifel Financial Corp grew its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 95,700.4% in the 3rd quarter. Stifel Financial Corp now owns 3,281,163 shares of the company’s stock worth $210,016,000 after buying an additional 3,277,738 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. grew its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 415.5% in the 3rd quarter. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. now owns 3,560,465 shares of the company’s stock worth $227,977,000 after buying an additional 2,869,844 shares during the last quarter. 73.68% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
Merck & Co., Inc. 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. 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.
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