Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Merck’s new products like Keytruda and Zepatier should continue to contribute meaningfully to the top line. However, generic competition for several drugs will continue to be overhangs on the top line. Competitive and pricing pressures are also hurting sales of drugs like Isentress and Remicade. The diabetes franchise is also seeing slow sales since the past few quarters. Rising competition in the immuno-oncology market is also a significant concern. Meanwhile, Merck has also had its share of pipeline and regulatory setbacks. It recently dropped development of two of its HCV programs as the HCV market is becoming extremely crowded. Merck’s shares underperformed the industry this year so far. Estimates have remained stable ahead of the company’s Q3 earnings release. Merck has a positive record of earnings surprises in the recent quarters.”

A number of other equities analysts also recently commented on MRK. HSBC Holdings plc raised shares of Merck & from a “reduce” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 9th. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 9th. UBS AG lifted their price objective on shares of Merck & from $70.00 to $72.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, July 31st. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and issued a $74.00 price objective (up previously from $70.00) on shares of Merck & in a report on Thursday, July 27th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “sell” rating on shares of Merck & in a report on Wednesday, July 5th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Merck & presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $69.81.

Merck & (MRK) opened at 64.46 on Wednesday. Merck & has a one year low of $58.29 and a one year high of $66.80. The firm has a market cap of $175.81 billion, a PE ratio of 34.90 and a beta of 0.80. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $64.42 and a 200 day moving average of $63.70.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.87 by $0.14. The firm had revenue of $9.93 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.75 billion. Merck & had a net margin of 17.14% and a return on equity of 26.02%. The firm’s revenue was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.93 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts forecast that Merck & will post $3.87 earnings per share for the current year.

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Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Perennial Advisors LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Merck & by 10.7% during the second quarter. Perennial Advisors LLC now owns 1,626 shares of the company’s stock valued at $104,000 after acquiring an additional 157 shares during the period. Stelac Advisory Services LLC acquired a new position in shares of Merck & during the second quarter valued at $104,000. Vigilant Capital Management LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Merck & by 16.7% during the first quarter. Vigilant Capital Management LLC now owns 1,746 shares of the company’s stock valued at $111,000 after acquiring an additional 250 shares during the period. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Merck & by 15.5% during the second quarter. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 1,727 shares of the company’s stock valued at $111,000 after acquiring an additional 232 shares during the period. Finally, Solaris Asset Management LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Merck & by 6.3% during the second quarter. Solaris Asset Management LLC now owns 1,940 shares of the company’s stock valued at $124,000 after acquiring an additional 115 shares during the period. 72.91% of the stock is owned by 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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