Barclays PLC Reiterates Overweight Rating for Merck & Co. (MRK)
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK)‘s stock had its “overweight” rating reissued by investment analysts at Barclays PLC in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday.
Several other equities research analysts also recently issued reports on the company. Citigroup Inc. reiterated a “neutral” rating and issued a $65.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Wednesday, August 10th. BMO Capital Markets upgraded Merck & Co. from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and boosted their price objective for the company from $62.00 to $72.00 in a report on Friday, August 5th. Jefferies Group cut their price objective on Merck & Co. from $54.00 to $53.00 and set a “hold” rating on the stock in a report on Tuesday, June 14th. Morgan Stanley set a $60.00 price objective on Merck & Co. and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, September 13th. Finally, Vetr upgraded Merck & Co. from a “sell” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $62.26 price target on the stock in a report on Monday, July 4th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have given a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co. has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of €63.37 ($70.41).
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) opened at 61.93 on Wednesday. Merck & Co. has a 1-year low of $47.97 and a 1-year high of $64.86. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $62.63 and a 200 day moving average price of $58.58. The company has a market capitalization of $171.25 billion, a P/E ratio of 33.97 and a beta of 0.68.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. The firm had revenue of $9.84 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.79 billion. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 23.41% and a net margin of 13.01%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.86 EPS. On average, equities analysts predict that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 EPS for the current year.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th were given a $0.46 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.97%. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 101.10%.
In related news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of €61.81 ($68.68), for a total value of €24,229,520.00 ($26,921,688.89). Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now directly owns 760,877 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately €47,029,807.37 ($52,255,341.52). The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of €62.07 ($68.97), for a total value of €2,532,456.00 ($2,813,840.00). Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 128,973 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €8,005,354.11 ($8,894,837.90). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.05% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Wilbanks Smith & Thomas Asset Management LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 6.0% in the first quarter. Wilbanks Smith & Thomas Asset Management LLC now owns 38,235 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,023,000 after buying an additional 2,168 shares during the last quarter. Hills Bank & Trust Co. boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 24.0% in the first quarter. Hills Bank & Trust Co. now owns 15,305 shares of the company’s stock worth $809,000 after buying an additional 2,960 shares during the last quarter. St. Johns Investment Management Company LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 2.6% in the first quarter. St. Johns Investment Management Company LLC now owns 17,945 shares of the company’s stock worth $949,000 after buying an additional 452 shares during the last quarter. Wade G W & Inc. boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 2.5% in the first quarter. Wade G W & Inc. now owns 17,735 shares of the company’s stock worth $938,000 after buying an additional 437 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Investment Centers of America Inc. boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 7.1% in the first quarter. Investment Centers of America Inc. now owns 83,141 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,387,000 after buying an additional 5,546 shares during the last quarter. 72.93% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
Merck & Co. 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, 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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