Traders Buy Shares of Merck & Co. (MRK) on Weakness

Traders purchased shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) on weakness during trading hours on Friday. $100.15 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $63.52 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $36.63 million into the stock. Of all stocks tracked, Merck & Co. had the 25th highest net in-flow for the day. Merck & Co. traded down ($0.04) for the day and closed at $59.09

Several analysts have recently issued reports on MRK shares. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $66.00 price target for the company in a research note on Tuesday, April 17th. Morgan Stanley upgraded Merck & Co. from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and upped their price target for the stock from $59.80 to $63.00 in a research note on Tuesday, April 17th. Deutsche Bank reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Wednesday, April 25th. BMO Capital Markets upped their price target on Merck & Co. from $65.00 to $70.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 26th. Finally, Barclays upgraded Merck & Co. from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and upped their price target for the stock from $62.00 to $64.00 in a research note on Thursday, April 5th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and fourteen have given a buy rating to the company. Merck & Co. presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $65.87.

The company has a market cap of $159.53 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.85, a P/E/G ratio of 2.25 and a beta of 0.76. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.63, a current ratio of 1.42 and a quick ratio of 1.10.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, May 1st. The company reported $1.05 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.00 by $0.05. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 30.93% and a net margin of 4.31%. The firm had revenue of $10.04 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.09 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.88 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.4% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts forecast that Merck & Co. will post 4.23 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 9th. Investors of record on Friday, June 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.48 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, June 14th. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.25%. Merck & Co.’s payout ratio is 48.24%.

In other Merck & Co. news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 24,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, April 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $58.00, for a total value of $1,392,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 9,972 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, May 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $59.66, for a total value of $594,929.52. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.32% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. BlackRock Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co. by 0.7% in the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 184,848,368 shares of the company’s stock worth $10,401,418,000 after buying an additional 1,255,336 shares in the last quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co. by 13.6% in the 1st quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 49,101,614 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,674,552,000 after buying an additional 5,880,457 shares in the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co. by 3.4% in the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 29,116,826 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,634,999,000 after buying an additional 957,657 shares in the last quarter. Legal & General Group Plc raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co. by 0.7% in the 3rd quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 14,660,131 shares of the company’s stock worth $938,669,000 after buying an additional 95,743 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Macquarie Group Ltd. raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co. by 5.4% in the 4th quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 11,698,584 shares of the company’s stock worth $658,298,000 after buying an additional 597,089 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 73.14% of the company’s stock.

Merck & Co. Company Profile

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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