Merck & Co. (MRK) Earns Hold Rating from Jefferies Group
Several other equities analysts have also recently issued reports on MRK. Argus restated a buy rating and issued a $65.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Wednesday, September 14th. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a market perform rating and issued a $62.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Tuesday, August 2nd. Zacks Investment Research raised Merck & Co. from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $70.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Friday. Piper Jaffray Cos. reaffirmed a neutral rating and issued a $62.00 price objective (up previously from $58.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Monday, August 8th. Finally, Leerink Swann reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $58.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Thursday, July 14th. Twelve research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of €65.58 ($72.87).
Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) opened at 62.14 on Friday. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $62.56 and a 200 day moving average price of $58.70. The firm has a market cap of $171.83 billion, a PE ratio of 34.09 and a beta of 0.68. Merck & Co. has a 12-month low of $47.97 and a 12-month high of $64.86.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings results 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 analysts’ expectations of $9.79 billion. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 23.41% and a net margin of 13.01%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up .6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.86 EPS. On average, analysts forecast that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, September 15th were issued a dividend of $0.46 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.96%. Merck & Co.’s payout ratio is 101.10%.
In other news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, October 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of €62.07 ($68.97), for a total transaction of €2,532,456.00 ($2,813,840.00). Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 128,973 shares in the company, valued at approximately €8,005,354.11 ($8,894,837.90). The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on 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 sale, the chairman now 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. Insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.
Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Acrospire Investment Management LLC increased its stake in Merck & Co. by 5.9% in the second quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 1,800 shares of the company’s stock worth $104,000 after buying an additional 100 shares during the last quarter. Roble Belko & Company Inc boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 124.7% in the second quarter. Roble Belko & Company Inc now owns 1,802 shares of the company’s stock worth $104,000 after buying an additional 1,000 shares during the period. Americafirst Capital Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth $115,000. First New York Securities LLC NY acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth $121,000. Finally, NewSquare Capital LLC boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 14.2% in the second quarter. NewSquare Capital LLC now owns 2,104 shares of the company’s stock worth $121,000 after buying an additional 261 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.93% of the company’s stock.
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.
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