Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Given Market Perform Rating at Leerink Swann

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)‘s stock had its “market perform” rating reissued by analysts at Leerink Swann in a note issued to investors on Monday.

MRK has been the subject of a number of other research reports. Vetr downgraded Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $57.17 price target for the company. in a research note on Wednesday, December 14th. Piper Jaffray Companies raised Merck & Co. from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and set a $72.00 price target for the company in a research note on Thursday, January 12th. Guggenheim raised Merck & Co. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and boosted their price target for the company from $61.63 to $70.00 in a research note on Thursday, January 12th. Zacks Investment Research raised Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $67.00 price target for the company in a research note on Tuesday, December 6th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets dropped their price target on Merck & Co. from $72.00 to $70.00 and set an “outperform” rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday, February 15th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co. currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $67.72.

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

Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded up 0.305% on Monday, hitting $64.095. 5,127,134 shares of the stock traded hands. Merck & Co. has a 1-year low of $51.59 and a 1-year high of $66.80. The stock has a market cap of $175.98 billion, a PE ratio of 45.457 and a beta of 0.79. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $64.81 and a 200-day moving average of $62.39.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.89 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.89 by $0.00. The business earned $10.10 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.22 billion. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 24.08% and a net margin of 14.30%. Merck & Co.’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.93 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts expect that Merck & Co. will post $3.81 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 7th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, March 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.47 per share. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.94%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, March 13th. Merck & Co.’s payout ratio is 92.61%.

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In other Merck & Co. news, Director Patricia F. Russo sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, February 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $64.42, for a total transaction of $322,100.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 18,148 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,169,094.16. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, EVP Michael J. Holston sold 91,959 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $63.96, for a total value of $5,881,697.64. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 105,559 shares in the company, valued at $6,751,553.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 106,959 shares of company stock worth $6,843,448 over the last 90 days. Company insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Intellectus Partners LLC purchased a new position in shares of Merck & Co. during the fourth quarter worth $103,000. Blume Capital Management Inc. raised its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 14.0% in the third quarter. Blume Capital Management Inc. now owns 1,710 shares of the company’s stock worth $107,000 after buying an additional 210 shares during the last quarter. Roble Belko & Company Inc raised its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 16.6% in the third quarter. Roble Belko & Company Inc now owns 2,102 shares of the company’s stock worth $131,000 after buying an additional 300 shares during the last quarter. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Merck & Co. during the fourth quarter worth $135,000. Finally, Mascoma Wealth Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of Merck & Co. during the fourth quarter worth $135,000. 74.10% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Merck & Co.

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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