Investors Buy Shares of Merck & Co. (MRK) on Weakness
Traders purchased shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) on weakness during trading on Thursday. $90.64 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $60.78 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $29.86 million into the stock. Of all equities tracked, Merck & Co. had the 11th highest net in-flow for the day. Merck & Co. traded down ($0.17) for the day and closed at $58.43
MRK has been the topic of a number of research reports. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reissued a “neutral” rating and issued a $60.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Wednesday, June 8th. Vetr upgraded Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $55.12 target price on the stock in a report on Monday, April 4th. Jefferies Group decreased their target price on Merck & Co. from $54.00 to $53.00 and set a “hold” rating on the stock in a report on Tuesday, June 14th. Societe Generale started coverage on Merck & Co. in a report on Wednesday, April 6th. They issued a “buy” rating on the stock. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, BMO Capital Markets cut Merck & Co. from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $62.00 target price on the stock. in a report on Monday, July 18th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have issued a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of €60.22 ($66.91).
The company has a market capitalization of $161.74 billion and a P/E ratio of 35.82. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $57.81 and a 200 day moving average price of $54.38.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, May 5th. The company reported $0.89 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.85 by $0.04. The firm earned $9.30 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.45 billion. Merck & Co.’s quarterly revenue was down 1.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.85 EPS. Equities analysts expect that Merck & Co. will post $3.72 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 7th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th will be given a $0.46 dividend. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.15%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, September 13th.
In related news, CEO Kenneth C. Frazier sold 60,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, July 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of €58.00 ($64.44), for a total value of €3,480,000.00 ($3,866,666.67). Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 554,856 shares in the company, valued at approximately €32,181,648 ($35,757,386.67). The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 45,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, July 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of €57.99 ($64.43), for a total transaction of €2,609,550.00 ($2,899,500.00). Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 123,151 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately €7,141,526.49 ($7,935,029.43). The disclosure for this sale can be found here.
Other hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. GAM Holding AG boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 3.1% in the fourth quarter. GAM Holding AG now owns 1,146,811 shares of the company’s stock worth $60,574,000 after buying an additional 34,310 shares in the last quarter. Conning Inc. boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 1.8% in the fourth quarter. Conning Inc. now owns 623,656 shares of the company’s stock worth $32,942,000 after buying an additional 10,901 shares in the last quarter. First National Trust Co. boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 1.7% in the fourth quarter. First National Trust Co. now owns 195,762 shares of the company’s stock worth $10,340,000 after buying an additional 3,308 shares in the last quarter. ProShare Advisors LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 1.8% in the fourth quarter. ProShare Advisors LLC now owns 660,182 shares of the company’s stock worth $34,871,000 after buying an additional 11,680 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 0.8% in the fourth quarter. Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. now owns 358,380 shares of the company’s stock worth $18,930,000 after buying an additional 2,900 shares in the last quarter.
Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, which it markets directly and through its joint ventures. It operates through one segment, Pharmaceutical. 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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