Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) – Equities research analysts at Jefferies Group issued their Q3 2016 earnings estimates for shares of Merck & Co. in a report issued on Thursday. Jefferies Group analyst J. Holford anticipates that the firm will post earnings per share of $0.98 for the quarter. Jefferies Group currently has a “Hold” rating and a $56.00 price target on the stock. Jefferies Group also issued estimates for Merck & Co.’s FY2017 earnings at $4.16 EPS.

Other research analysts have also issued research reports about the company. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $70.00 price target for the company in a research report on Friday. BMO Capital Markets lowered Merck & Co. from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $62.00 target price for the company. in a research report on Monday, July 18th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Sanford C. Bernstein restated an “outperform” rating and set a $74.00 target price (up previously from $66.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Thursday, August 11th. Credit Suisse Group AG restated a “hold” rating and set a $59.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Wednesday, July 13th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Cos. restated a “neutral” rating and set a $62.00 target price (up previously from $58.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Monday, August 8th. Twelve research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and ten have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co. has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of €65.05 ($72.28).

Earnings History and Estimates for Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK)

Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) opened at 62.14 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of $171.83 billion, a P/E ratio of 34.09 and a beta of 0.68. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $62.56 and a 200 day moving average price of $58.70. Merck & Co. has a 1-year low of $47.97 and a 1-year high of $64.86.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 23.41% and a net margin of 13.01%. The firm earned $9.84 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.79 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.86 EPS. The business’s revenue was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in MRK. Accredited Investors Inc. raised its stake 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 period. Thomaspartners Inc. raised its stake in Merck & Co. by 0.3% in the first quarter. Thomaspartners Inc. now owns 9,024 shares of the company’s stock valued at $477,000 after buying an additional 26 shares during the last quarter. QCI Asset Management Inc. NY raised its stake 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 valued at $137,000 after buying an additional 27 shares during the last quarter. Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management raised its stake 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 valued at $250,000 after buying an additional 39 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Annex Advisory Services LLC raised its stake in Merck & Co. by 0.4% in the second quarter. Annex Advisory Services LLC now owns 12,081 shares of the company’s stock valued at $696,000 after buying an additional 43 shares during the last quarter. 72.93% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

In other news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, August 5th. The shares were 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 sale, the chairman now directly owns 760,877 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €47,029,807.37 ($52,255,341.52). The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, EVP Clark Golestani sold 3,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of €63.03 ($70.03), for a total transaction of €189,090.00 ($210,100.00). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, September 15th were issued a dividend of $0.46 per share. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.96%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, September 13th. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 101.10%.

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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