BMO Capital Markets set a $68.00 price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) in a report issued on Tuesday morning. The firm currently has a buy rating on the stock.

MRK has been the subject of a number of other reports. Cowen restated a hold rating and set a $70.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Friday, November 3rd. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $70.00 price target on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Sunday, October 29th. ValuEngine upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 10th. Jefferies Group restated a sell rating and set a $55.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Friday, October 20th. Finally, Bank of America assumed coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Tuesday, November 28th. They set a buy rating and a $64.00 price objective on the stock. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $67.06.

Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) traded up $0.15 during trading on Tuesday, hitting $61.28. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 12,160,000 shares, compared to its average volume of 13,120,000. The company has a market cap of $167,130.00, a P/E ratio of 59.50, a P/E/G ratio of 3.06 and a beta of 0.76. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $53.63 and a 1-year high of $66.80. The company has a current ratio of 1.43, a quick ratio of 1.16 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Friday, October 27th. The company reported $1.11 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.08. The business had revenue of $10.33 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.54 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 27.08% and a net margin of 11.60%. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 2.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $1.07 EPS. equities research analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 3.95 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its board has authorized a share buyback plan on Tuesday, November 28th that authorizes the company to buyback $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are generally an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, January 8th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 15th were given a dividend of $0.48 per share. This is a boost from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.47. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.13%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, December 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is presently 186.41%.

In related news, EVP Michael J. Holston sold 12,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, January 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total value of $770,375.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, January 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total value of $3,697,800.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 101,484 shares in the company, valued at $6,254,458.92. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 82,500 shares of company stock worth $5,039,175. Insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Hanson McClain Inc. increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 65.0% in the 2nd quarter. Hanson McClain Inc. now owns 7,662 shares of the company’s stock worth $491,000 after acquiring an additional 3,019 shares during the last quarter. Honeywell International Inc. increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.8% in the 3rd quarter. Honeywell International Inc. now owns 633,700 shares of the company’s stock worth $40,576,000 after acquiring an additional 100,500 shares during the last quarter. Hartland & Co. LLC increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 9.5% in the 2nd quarter. Hartland & Co. LLC now owns 44,558 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,856,000 after acquiring an additional 3,861 shares during the last quarter. Crescent Grove Advisors LLC bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $1,092,000. Finally, Stifel Financial Corp increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.6% in the 2nd quarter. Stifel Financial Corp now owns 3,308,781 shares of the company’s stock worth $211,982,000 after acquiring an additional 116,491 shares during the last quarter. 73.68% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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About Merck & Co., Inc.

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 & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

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