Jefferies Group set a $56.00 target price on Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) in a research report released on Friday morning. The brokerage currently has a hold rating on the stock. Jefferies Group also issued estimates for Merck & Co.’s Q1 2018 earnings at $0.99 EPS, FY2018 earnings at $4.14 EPS, FY2020 earnings at $4.51 EPS and FY2022 earnings at $5.01 EPS.
A number of other research analysts have also commented on the company. Barclays raised Merck & Co. from an equal weight rating to an overweight rating and upped their price objective for the company from $62.00 to $64.00 in a report on Thursday, April 5th. SunTrust Banks raised Merck & Co. from a hold rating to a buy rating and upped their price objective for the company from $54.00 to $72.00 in a report on Tuesday, January 16th. ValuEngine raised Merck & Co. from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, January 10th. BMO Capital Markets upped their price objective on Merck & Co. from $68.00 to $72.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a report on Wednesday, January 17th. Finally, DZ Bank raised Merck & Co. from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Tuesday, February 13th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $66.53.
Shares of NYSE MRK opened at $58.65 on Friday. The company has a current ratio of 1.33, a quick ratio of 1.06 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.62. Merck & Co. has a one year low of $52.83 and a one year high of $66.41. The firm has a market capitalization of $154,141.17, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.74, a PEG ratio of 2.41 and a beta of 0.77.
The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, April 6th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, March 15th were given a dividend of $0.48 per share. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, March 14th. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.27%. Merck & Co.’s payout ratio is 48.24%.
In other news, Director Wendell P. Weeks sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction 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 completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 5,100 shares in the company, valued at approximately $273,207. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.
Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in MRK. Santori & Peters Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co. during the 4th quarter worth $110,000. NewSquare Capital LLC raised its position in Merck & Co. 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 purchasing an additional 13,014 shares during the last quarter. Stevens First Principles Investment Advisors raised its position in Merck & Co. 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 purchasing an additional 920 shares during the last quarter. Avestar Capital LLC bought a new position in Merck & Co. in the fourth quarter valued at about $130,000. Finally, Balentine LLC raised its position in Merck & Co. by 1.0% in the second quarter. Balentine LLC now owns 2,107 shares of the company’s stock valued at $135,000 after purchasing an additional 20 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 74.60% of the company’s stock.
About Merck & Co.
Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates in four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, asthma, nasal allergy symptoms, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, fungal, intra-abdominal infections, hypertension, arthritis and pain, inflammatory, osteoporosis, and fertility diseases.
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