Vetr Inc. Downgrades Merck & Co. (MRK) to Hold
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) was downgraded by equities research analysts at Vetr from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Monday. They currently have a $64.84 target price on the stock.
Several other equities analysts also recently commented on MRK. Jefferies Group lowered their price target on Merck & Co. from $54.00 to $53.00 and set a “hold” rating on the stock in a report on Tuesday, June 14th. BMO Capital Markets reiterated an “outperform” rating and set a $62.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Tuesday, June 28th. Credit Suisse Group AG reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $59.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Wednesday, July 6th. Leerink Swann reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $58.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Thursday, July 14th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG increased their price target on Merck & Co. from $58.00 to $59.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, August 8th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have assigned a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of €63.37 ($70.41).
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) opened at 61.93 on Monday. Merck & Co. has a 52-week low of $47.97 and a 52-week high of $64.86. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $62.63 and a 200-day moving average of $58.58. The firm has a market cap of $171.25 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 33.97 and a beta of 0.68.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. The firm had revenue of $9.84 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.79 billion. Merck & Co. had a net margin of 13.01% and a return on equity of 23.41%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up .6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.86 earnings per share. On average, analysts expect that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 EPS for the current year.
The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th were issued 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 is 101.10%.
In related news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 3rd. The stock was 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 transaction, the insider now directly owns 128,973 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €8,005,354.11 ($8,894,837.90). The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 5th. The shares were 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 transaction, the chairman now directly owns 760,877 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €47,029,807.37 ($52,255,341.52). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.05% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Emerald Acquisition Ltd. acquired a new position in Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth about $274,347,000. Orbis Allan Gray Ltd acquired a new position in Merck & Co. during the first quarter worth about $239,761,000. Ameriprise Financial Inc. boosted its position in Merck & Co. by 24.1% in the second quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 22,992,642 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,324,996,000 after buying an additional 4,468,488 shares in the last quarter. Bank of Montreal Can acquired a new position in Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth about $250,542,000. Finally, Boston Partners boosted its position in Merck & Co. by 23.8% in the second quarter. Boston Partners now owns 19,034,299 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,096,566,000 after buying an additional 3,655,639 shares in the last quarter. 72.93% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
About Merck & Co.
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.
To view Vetr’s full report, visit Vetr’s official website.
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