Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Upgraded to Buy at DZ Bank

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) was upgraded by research analysts at DZ Bank from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report released on Tuesday.

A number of other analysts have also recently weighed in on MRK. Leerink Swann lowered their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $69.00 to $67.00 and set a “market perform” rating on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, February 6th. Credit Suisse Group lowered their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $67.00 to $66.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a research report on Monday, February 5th. Morgan Stanley upped their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $60.00 to $63.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Wednesday, February 7th. Barclays cut Merck & Co., Inc. from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and lowered their price target for the company from $72.00 to $62.00 in a research report on Monday, October 30th. Finally, UBS Group lowered their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $72.00 to $67.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research report on Monday, October 30th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the company. Merck & Co., Inc. currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $66.88.

Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE MRK) opened at $55.01 on Tuesday. The stock has a market capitalization of $149,950.00, a P/E ratio of 59.18, a PEG ratio of 2.46 and a beta of 0.75. The company has a current ratio of 1.43, a quick ratio of 1.16 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1 year low of $53.36 and a 1 year high of $66.80.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings data on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.94 by $0.04. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 27.73% and a net margin of 6.40%. The business had revenue of $10.43 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.48 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.89 earnings per share. Merck & Co., Inc.’s quarterly revenue was up 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.15 EPS for the current year.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its board has approved a share repurchase program on Tuesday, November 28th that allows the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are usually an indication that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

In other news, EVP Michael J. Holston sold 12,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total transaction of $770,375.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total value of $3,697,800.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 101,484 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,254,458.92. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 82,500 shares of company stock worth $5,026,025. Insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Perennial Advisors LLC lifted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.7% in the second quarter. Perennial Advisors LLC now owns 1,626 shares of the company’s stock valued at $104,000 after buying an additional 157 shares during the period. Stelac Advisory Services LLC acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the second quarter valued at about $104,000. Santori & Peters Inc. acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the fourth quarter valued at about $110,000. NewSquare Capital LLC lifted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 728.3% in the third quarter. NewSquare Capital LLC now owns 14,801 shares of the company’s stock valued at $115,000 after buying an additional 13,014 shares during the period. Finally, Stevens First Principles Investment Advisors lifted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 79.3% in the fourth quarter. Stevens First Principles Investment Advisors now owns 2,080 shares of the company’s stock valued at $117,000 after buying an additional 920 shares during the period. 72.85% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Merck & Co., Inc.

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.

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

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