Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK)‘s stock had its “market perform” rating reaffirmed by research analysts at Leerink Swann in a note issued to investors on Wednesday. They presently have a $65.00 price target on the stock.

A number of other research firms have also recently commented on MRK. Barclays PLC increased their price target on shares of Merck & Co. from $66.00 to $72.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, September 9th. Jefferies Group increased their price target on shares of Merck & Co. from $53.00 to $57.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, August 8th. Sanford C. Bernstein reiterated an “outperform” rating and set a $74.00 price target (up previously from $66.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Thursday, August 11th. Morgan Stanley set a $60.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, September 13th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets upgraded shares of Merck & Co. from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and increased their price target for the company from $62.00 to $72.00 in a report on Friday, August 5th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have issued a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of €63.80 ($70.89).

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

Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded down 0.121% during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $61.855. The stock had a trading volume of 2,855,957 shares. The firm has a market capitalization of $171.04 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 33.930 and a beta of 0.68. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $62.63 and its 200 day moving average is $58.58. Merck & Co. has a 1-year low of $47.97 and a 1-year high of $64.86.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. Merck & Co. had a net margin of 13.01% and a return on equity of 23.41%. The firm had revenue of $9.84 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.79 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.86 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up .6% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts predict that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 15th were paid a $0.46 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.97%. Merck & Co.’s payout ratio is currently 101.10%.

In other Merck & Co. news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction on Monday, October 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of €62.07 ($68.97), for a total value of €2,532,456.00 ($2,813,840.00). Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 128,973 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately €8,005,354.11 ($8,894,837.90). The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction on Friday, August 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of €61.81 ($68.68), for a total transaction of €24,229,520.00 ($26,921,688.89). Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 760,877 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €47,029,807.37 ($52,255,341.52). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.05% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of MRK. Accredited Investors Inc. boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 0.3% in the first quarter. Accredited Investors Inc. now owns 9,125 shares of the company’s stock worth $483,000 after buying an additional 23 shares during the last quarter. Thomaspartners Inc. boosted its position in Merck & Co. by 0.3% in the first quarter. Thomaspartners Inc. now owns 9,024 shares of the company’s stock worth $477,000 after buying an additional 26 shares in the last quarter. QCI Asset Management Inc. NY boosted its position in Merck & Co. by 1.1% in the second quarter. QCI Asset Management Inc. NY now owns 2,382 shares of the company’s stock worth $137,000 after buying an additional 27 shares in the last quarter. Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management boosted its position in Merck & Co. by 0.8% in the first quarter. Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management now owns 4,738 shares of the company’s stock worth $250,000 after buying an additional 39 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Annex Advisory Services LLC boosted its position in Merck & Co. by 0.4% in the second quarter. Annex Advisory Services LLC now owns 12,081 shares of the company’s stock worth $696,000 after buying an additional 43 shares in the last quarter. 72.93% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Merck & Co. Company Profile

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.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:MRK

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