Merck & Co Given “Buy” Rating at Bank of America (MRK)
Merck & Co (NYSE: MRK)‘s stock had its “buy” rating reiterated by investment analysts at Bank of America in a note issued to investors on Wednesday. They currently have a $47.00 target price on the stock.
The analysts wrote, “MRK announced that the Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) has completed its planned review of the IMPROVE-IT trial and recommended the study continue. We view this as an incremental positive for MRK and today’s news will potentially remove an overhang on the stock, as some investors were likely cautious ahead of this event. As a reminder, the ongoing IMPROVE-IT trial (due to complete Sep-14 per clinicaltrials.gov) is a large (18k patients) outcomes study with the primary objective of evaluating the clinical benefit of Vytorin (Zetia and Vytorin accounted for 9% of MRK’s 2012 revenue) versus simvastatin in terms of CV events/death in patients with recent acute coronary syndrome (ACS).”
Merck & Co opened at 45.04 on Wednesday. Merck & Co has a 52-week low of $37.02 and a 52-week high of $48.00. The stock’s 50-day moving average is currently $42.5. The company has a market cap of $136.1 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.31.
Merck & Co last issued its quarterly earnings data on Friday, February 1st. The company reported $0.83 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.81 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $11.70 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $11.46 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.97 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 4.5% on a year-over-year basis. Merck & Co has set its FY13 guidance at $3.60-3.70 EPS. Analysts expect that Merck & Co will post $3.63 EPS for the current fiscal year.
Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein reiterated an “outperform” rating on shares of Merck & Co in a research note to investors on Tuesday, March 5th. They now have a $48.00 price target on the stock. Separately, analysts at TheStreet reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Merck & Co in a research note to investors on Monday, March 4th. Finally, analysts at Jefferies Group cut their price target on shares of Merck & Co from $47.00 to $46.00 in a research note to investors on Monday, February 25th. They now have a “hold” rating on the stock.
Eleven investment analysts have rated the stock with a buy rating, four have given an overweight rating, six have assigned a hold rating, and one has assigned a sell rating to the stock. Merck & Co currently has a consensus rating of “overweight” and a consensus price target of $48.50.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which is scheduled for Friday, April 5th. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 15th will be given a dividend of $0.43 per share. This represents a $1.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.82%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 13th.
Merck & Co, Inc. (Merck) is a global health care company that delivers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health, and consumer care products, which it markets directly and through its joint ventures.
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