Jefferies Group LLC reiterated their sell rating on shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) in a research report released on Friday morning. Jefferies Group LLC currently has a $55.00 price objective on the stock. Jefferies Group also issued estimates for Merck &’s FY2017 earnings at $3.88 EPS.

Several other equities research analysts also recently weighed in on MRK. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Merck & from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 17th. Citigroup Inc. upgraded shares of Merck & from a neutral rating to a buy rating and set a $72.00 target price for the company in a research note on Wednesday, October 18th. HSBC Holdings plc upgraded shares of Merck & from a reduce rating to a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 9th. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Merck & from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 9th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets set a $70.00 target price on shares of Merck & and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 18th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $70.71.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) opened at 63.88 on Friday. Merck & has a 1-year low of $58.29 and a 1-year high of $66.80. The stock has a market cap of $174.22 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 34.59 and a beta of 0.80. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $64.57 and its 200-day moving average price is $63.70.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 earnings per share 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 during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.75 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.93 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Merck & will post $3.87 earnings per share for the current year.

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The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 6th. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 15th were issued a $0.47 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, September 14th. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.94%. Merck &’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 76.11%.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Carnick & Kubik Group LLC purchased a new position in Merck & in the third quarter valued at about $1,379,000. Cordasco Financial Network increased its holdings in Merck & by 9.9% in the third quarter. Cordasco Financial Network now owns 21,435 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,373,000 after buying an additional 1,930 shares in the last quarter. Financial Consulate Inc. purchased a new position in Merck & in the third quarter valued at about $375,000. Financial Advisory Service Inc. increased its holdings in Merck & by 6.8% in the third quarter. Financial Advisory Service Inc. now owns 13,306 shares of the company’s stock valued at $852,000 after buying an additional 842 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Kistler Tiffany Companies LLC increased its holdings in Merck & by 6.1% in the third quarter. Kistler Tiffany Companies LLC now owns 45,409 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,908,000 after buying an additional 2,607 shares in the last quarter. 72.86% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Merck &

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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