Investors Buy Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) on Weakness
Traders bought shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) on weakness during trading hours on Tuesday. $139.83 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $86.42 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $53.41 million into the stock. Of all stocks tracked, Merck & Co., Inc. had the 5th highest net in-flow for the day. Merck & Co., Inc. traded down ($0.53) for the day and closed at $54.90
Several analysts have recently commented on MRK shares. Bank of America started coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Tuesday, November 28th. They set a “buy” rating and a $64.00 target price on the stock. BMO Capital Markets set a $70.00 target price on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 18th. SunTrust Banks upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and increased their target price for the stock from $54.00 to $72.00 in a report on Tuesday, January 16th. Sanford C. Bernstein restated a “buy” rating and set a $64.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Wednesday, November 15th. Finally, Jefferies Group cut Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to an “underperform” rating in a report on Wednesday, November 1st. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $66.88.
The stock has a market cap of $149,570.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 59.03, a PEG ratio of 2.46 and a beta of 0.75. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57, a quick ratio of 1.16 and a current ratio of 1.43.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 6th. Investors of record on Thursday, March 15th will be issued a $0.48 dividend. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.50%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, March 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is 206.45%.
Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its board has authorized a stock repurchase plan on Tuesday, November 28th that authorizes the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are usually a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.
In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated 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 transaction, the insider now owns 101,484 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $6,254,458.92. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, Director Wendell P. Weeks sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $53.57, for a total value of $267,850.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 5,100 shares in the company, valued at approximately $273,207. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 82,500 shares of company stock worth $5,026,025 in the last three months. Insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.
A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.7% during 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 during the period. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.0% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 184,997,390 shares of the company’s stock worth $11,856,484,000 after purchasing an additional 1,834,500 shares during the period. Geode Capital Management LLC raised its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.4% during the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 29,116,826 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,634,999,000 after purchasing an additional 957,657 shares during the period. Franklin Resources Inc. raised its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.1% during the second quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 27,019,572 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,731,684,000 after purchasing an additional 801,033 shares during the period. Finally, Ameriprise Financial Inc. raised its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 7.5% during the third quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 23,515,877 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,505,621,000 after purchasing an additional 1,631,013 shares during the period. 72.85% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
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.
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