Traders Buy Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) on Weakness

Traders bought shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) on weakness during trading hours on Tuesday. $139.83 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $86.42 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $53.41 million into the stock. Of all equities tracked, Merck & Co., Inc. had the 5th highest net in-flow for the day. Merck & Co., Inc. traded down ($0.53) for the day and closed at $54.90

MRK has been the topic of a number of analyst reports. Cowen reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $70.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Friday, November 3rd. BMO Capital Markets set a $68.00 price target on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, December 13th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $70.00 price target on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Sunday, October 29th. ValuEngine upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 10th. Finally, Jefferies Group reiterated a “sell” rating and issued a $55.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Friday, October 20th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $66.35.

The company has a current ratio of 1.43, a quick ratio of 1.16 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57. The company has a market cap of $149,571.59, a PE ratio of 59.03, a P/E/G ratio of 2.45 and a beta of 0.75.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate 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 company had revenue of $10.43 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.48 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.89 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.1% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.15 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 6th. Investors of record on Thursday, March 15th will be given a dividend of $0.48 per share. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, March 14th. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.50%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 206.45%.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase plan on Tuesday, November 28th that allows the company to buyback $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are often an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, EVP Michael J. Holston sold 12,500 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, January 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total value of $770,375.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, January 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total value 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 disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 82,500 shares of company stock worth $5,026,025. 0.25% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Honeywell International Inc. boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.8% in the third quarter. Honeywell International Inc. now owns 633,700 shares of the company’s stock worth $40,576,000 after acquiring an additional 100,500 shares in the last quarter. Hanson McClain Inc. raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 65.0% in the second quarter. Hanson McClain Inc. now owns 7,662 shares of the company’s stock worth $491,000 after purchasing an additional 3,019 shares during the last quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.3% in the third quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 524,481 shares of the company’s stock worth $33,582,000 after purchasing an additional 81,290 shares during the last quarter. Hartland & Co. LLC raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 9.5% in the second quarter. Hartland & Co. LLC now owns 44,558 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,856,000 after purchasing an additional 3,861 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Crescent Grove Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the second quarter worth approximately $1,092,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.85% 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.

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