Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Upgraded to Outperform by Leerink Swann

Leerink Swann upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) from a market perform rating to an outperform rating in a report published on Monday, March 12th, MarketBeat reports.

A number of other equities analysts also recently commented on MRK. Sanford C. Bernstein reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $64.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Wednesday, November 15th. Deutsche Bank reduced their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $62.00 to $59.00 and set a hold rating on the stock in a research note on Friday, November 24th. Bank of America started coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, November 28th. They issued a buy rating and a $64.00 price target on the stock. TheStreet downgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a b rating to a c rating in a research note on Monday, November 27th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets set a $68.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 13th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co., Inc. has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $66.47.

MRK stock traded down $1.17 during trading on Monday, reaching $53.36. 12,500,216 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 12,983,889. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.62, a current ratio of 1.33 and a quick ratio of 1.06. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1 year low of $52.83 and a 1 year high of $66.41. The company has a market capitalization of $147,050.20, a PE ratio of 13.41, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.30 and a beta of 0.78.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its earnings results on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.94 by $0.04. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 6.40% and a return on equity of 28.61%. The company had revenue of $10.43 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.48 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.89 earnings per share. Merck & Co., Inc.’s quarterly revenue was up 3.1% compared to the same quarter last year. sell-side analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.16 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 6th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.48 per share. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.60%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 48.24%.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on 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 transaction, the insider now owns 101,484 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,254,458.92. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director Wendell P. Weeks sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.57, for a total transaction of $267,850.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 5,100 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $273,207. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 82,500 shares of company stock valued at $5,026,025 in the last quarter. 0.25% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Santori & Peters Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 4th quarter valued at $110,000. Stevens First Principles Investment Advisors boosted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 79.3% in the 4th 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 in the last quarter. Balentine LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.0% in the 2nd quarter. Balentine LLC now owns 2,107 shares of the company’s stock valued at $135,000 after buying an additional 20 shares in the last quarter. Risk Paradigm Group LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 748.1% in the 2nd quarter. Risk Paradigm Group LLC now owns 2,256 shares of the company’s stock valued at $145,000 after buying an additional 1,990 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Avestar Capital LLC acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 4th quarter valued at $130,000. Institutional investors own 74.63% of the company’s stock.

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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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