Credit Suisse Group reiterated their outperform rating on shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) in a report published on Tuesday. Credit Suisse Group currently has a $74.00 price objective on the stock, down from their previous price objective of $75.00.

Other equities research analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Merck & from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $72.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, May 10th. BMO Capital Markets reissued a buy rating and set a $74.00 price objective on shares of Merck & in a research note on Tuesday, June 6th. Vetr lowered shares of Merck & from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating and set a $69.99 price objective on the stock. in a research note on Wednesday, May 17th. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $70.00 price objective on shares of Merck & and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Saturday, July 29th. Finally, UBS AG boosted their price objective on shares of Merck & from $70.00 to $72.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Monday, July 31st. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and twelve have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $69.68.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) opened at 64.27 on Tuesday. The company has a 50-day moving average of $62.97 and a 200 day moving average of $63.73. The company has a market cap of $175.29 billion, a PE ratio of 34.80 and a beta of 0.81. Merck & has a 12 month low of $58.29 and a 12 month high of $66.80.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.14. Merck & had a net margin of 17.14% and a return on equity of 26.02%. The business had revenue of $9.93 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.75 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.93 earnings per share. Merck &’s quarterly revenue was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts forecast that Merck & will post $3.88 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 6th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 15th will be paid a $0.47 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 14th. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.93%. Merck &’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 76.11%.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in MRK. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of Merck & by 1.7% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 194,144,317 shares of the company’s stock worth $12,442,709,000 after purchasing an additional 3,312,459 shares in the last quarter. Bank of Montreal Can increased its stake in shares of Merck & by 49.7% in the first quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 8,991,093 shares of the company’s stock worth $571,295,000 after purchasing an additional 2,983,319 shares in the last quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership increased its stake in shares of Merck & by 71.5% in the second quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership now owns 6,281,855 shares of the company’s stock worth $402,604,000 after purchasing an additional 2,618,435 shares in the last quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of Merck & by 40.4% in the second quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 8,012,726 shares of the company’s stock worth $513,535,000 after purchasing an additional 2,304,142 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board increased its stake in shares of Merck & by 70.4% in the first quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 5,568,791 shares of the company’s stock worth $353,841,000 after purchasing an additional 2,300,200 shares in the last quarter. 73.02% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Merck & 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. 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.

Analyst Recommendations for Merck & (NYSE:MRK)

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