Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) was downgraded by research analysts at Vetr from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Saturday.

A number of other research analysts also recently issued reports on the stock. Citigroup Inc. restated a “neutral” rating and issued a $65.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Wednesday, August 10th. BMO Capital Markets upgraded shares of Merck & Co. from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and raised their price target for the stock from $62.00 to $72.00 in a research report on Friday, August 5th. Morgan Stanley set a $60.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 13th. Bank of America Corp. upgraded shares of Merck & Co. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and lifted their price objective for the company from $57.00 to $70.00 in a research report on Thursday, October 13th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Merck & Co. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, November 10th. Thirteen research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of €66.53 ($71.54).

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

Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) opened at 61.87 on Friday. Merck & Co. has a one year low of $47.97 and a one year high of $65.46. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $61.69 and a 200 day moving average of $59.50. The stock has a market cap of $170.58 billion, a P/E ratio of 31.60 and a beta of 0.76.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 25th. The company reported $1.07 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.99 by $0.08. Merck & Co. had a net margin of 13.76% and a return on equity of 24.25%. The company had revenue of $10.50 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.17 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.96 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.6% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts predict that Merck & Co. will post $3.77 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In related news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of €62.07 ($66.74), for a total transaction of €2,532,456.00 ($2,723,070.97). Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 128,973 shares in the company, valued at €8,005,354.11 ($8,607,907.65). The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 39,200 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, September 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of €62.61 ($67.32), for a total transaction of €2,454,312.00 ($2,639,045.16). Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 39,200 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €2,454,312 ($2,639,045.16). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 1.9% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 174,819,694 shares of the company’s stock valued at $10,071,362,000 after buying an additional 3,242,254 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 0.7% in the second quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 74,363,785 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,284,098,000 after buying an additional 535,407 shares in the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 2.2% in the third quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 56,714,385 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,539,544,000 after buying an additional 1,235,395 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 1.9% in the third quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 45,572,909 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,844,205,000 after buying an additional 840,309 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Northern Trust Corp boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 1.1% in the third quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 36,237,082 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,261,555,000 after buying an additional 411,890 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 73.24% of the company’s stock.

About Merck & Co.

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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