Bryan, Garnier & Co started coverage on shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) in a report released on Friday. The brokerage set a “buy” rating on the stock.

Several other research firms have also issued reports on MRK. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Merck & Company from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $70.00 target price for the company in a research note on Friday, October 14th. Vetr lowered shares of Merck & Company from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating and set a $52.27 target price for the company. in a research note on Tuesday, December 27th. Barclays PLC reiterated an “overweight” rating on shares of Merck & Company in a research note on Wednesday, October 12th. Leerink Swann reiterated a “market perform” rating and issued a $65.00 target price on shares of Merck & Company in a research note on Wednesday, October 12th. Finally, Jefferies Group downgraded shares of Merck & Company from a “hold” rating to an “underperform” rating and set a $48.00 price target on the stock. in a report on Monday, December 19th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $65.79.

Analyst Recommendations for Merck & Company (NYSE:MRK)

Merck & Company (NYSE:MRK) traded down 0.06% during trading on Friday, reaching $62.17. 1,189,304 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. Merck & Company has a 52-week low of $47.97 and a 52-week high of $65.46. The company’s 50 day moving average is $60.73 and its 200-day moving average is $61.13. The stock has a market cap of $171.41 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 31.75 and a beta of 0.77.

Merck & Company (NYSE:MRK) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, October 25th. The company reported $1.07 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.99 by $0.08. Merck & Company had a net margin of 13.76% and a return on equity of 24.25%. The firm earned $10.50 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.17 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.96 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 4.6% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts anticipate that Merck & Company will post $3.79 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, January 9th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, December 15th were given a dividend of $0.47 per share. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, December 13th. This is a boost from Merck & Company’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.46. This represents a $1.88 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.02%. Merck & Company’s dividend payout ratio is currently 95.92%.

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In related news, Director Rochelle B. Lazarus sold 20,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $59.06, for a total value of $1,181,200.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 9,594 shares in the company, valued at $566,621.64. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 85,523 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $60.02, for a total transaction of $5,133,090.46. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 77,762 shares in the company, valued at $4,667,275.24. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Solaris Asset Management LLC boosted its position in Merck & Company by 3.8% in the third quarter. Solaris Asset Management LLC now owns 1,635 shares of the company’s stock valued at $102,000 after buying an additional 60 shares during the period. Acrospire Investment Management LLC boosted its position in Merck & Company by 5.9% in the second quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 1,800 shares of the company’s stock valued at $104,000 after buying an additional 100 shares during the period. Roble Belko & Company Inc boosted its position in Merck & Company by 124.7% in the second quarter. Roble Belko & Company Inc now owns 1,802 shares of the company’s stock valued at $104,000 after buying an additional 1,000 shares during the period. Nelson Van Denburg & Campbell Wealth Management Group LLC boosted its position in Merck & Company by 1.8% in the third quarter. Nelson Van Denburg & Campbell Wealth Management Group LLC now owns 1,711 shares of the company’s stock valued at $106,000 after buying an additional 30 shares during the period. Finally, Blume Capital Management Inc. boosted its position in Merck & Company by 14.0% in the third quarter. Blume Capital Management Inc. now owns 1,710 shares of the company’s stock valued at $107,000 after buying an additional 210 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 72.43% of the company’s stock.

Merck & Company 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.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:MRK

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