Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) – Equities research analysts at Jefferies Group issued their Q2 2017 earnings estimates for shares of Merck & Company in a report released on Wednesday. Jefferies Group analyst J. Holford forecasts that the company will post earnings of $0.86 per share for the quarter. Jefferies Group currently has a “Sell” rating and a $51.00 target price on the stock. Jefferies Group also issued estimates for Merck & Company’s FY2018 earnings at $4.14 EPS.

Other equities research analysts also recently issued research reports about the company. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Merck & Company from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, May 25th. Vetr downgraded Merck & Company from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $69.99 price target on the stock. in a report on Wednesday, May 17th. BMO Capital Markets restated a “buy” rating and set a $74.00 price target on shares of Merck & Company in a report on Tuesday, June 27th. Citigroup Inc. set a $65.00 price target on Merck & Company and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 5th. Finally, Cowen and Company restated a “market perform” rating and set a $68.00 price target on shares of Merck & Company in a report on Tuesday, April 11th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $69.22.

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Shares of Merck & Company (NYSE MRK) opened at 62.89 on Thursday. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $64.44 and its 200-day moving average price is $63.36. The company has a market cap of $172.01 billion, a P/E ratio of 40.08 and a beta of 0.81. Merck & Company has a 12 month low of $57.18 and a 12 month high of $66.80. Merck & Company also saw unusually large options trading on Wednesday. Stock investors acquired 17,312 call options on the stock. This represents an increase of approximately 185% compared to the average volume of 6,067 call options.

Merck & Company (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, May 2nd. The company reported $0.88 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.83 by $0.05. Merck & Company had a return on equity of 24.99% and a net margin of 15.32%. The company had revenue of $9.43 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.25 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.89 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.3% compared to the same quarter last year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, July 10th. Investors of record on Thursday, June 15th were given a $0.47 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, June 13th. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.99%. Merck & Company’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 85.84%.

In other Merck & Company news, Director C Robert Kidder sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, May 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $63.54, for a total transaction of $317,700.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 14,317 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $909,702.18. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 0.05% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of MRK. TCW Group Inc. boosted its stake in Merck & Company by 23.8% in the fourth quarter. TCW Group Inc. now owns 2,840,265 shares of the company’s stock worth $167,206,000 after buying an additional 545,411 shares during the last quarter. United Bank bought a new stake in Merck & Company during the fourth quarter worth $260,000. Van Strum & Towne Inc. boosted its stake in Merck & Company by 1.6% in the fourth quarter. Van Strum & Towne Inc. now owns 9,198 shares of the company’s stock worth $541,000 after buying an additional 148 shares during the last quarter. Aspiriant LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Company by 2.4% in the fourth quarter. Aspiriant LLC now owns 23,180 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,365,000 after buying an additional 549 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Glenview Trust Co bought a new stake in Merck & Company during the fourth quarter worth $3,258,000. 73.76% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Merck & Company

Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services and Alliances. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.

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

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