Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) had its price target dropped by equities research analysts at Leerink Swann from $69.00 to $67.00 in a report released on Tuesday. The brokerage currently has a “market perform” rating on the stock. Leerink Swann’s price target would suggest a potential upside of 19.90% from the stock’s previous close. Leerink Swann also issued estimates for Merck & Co., Inc.’s Q1 2018 earnings at $0.96 EPS, Q2 2018 earnings at $1.11 EPS, FY2018 earnings at $4.13 EPS, FY2019 earnings at $4.13 EPS, FY2020 earnings at $4.49 EPS and FY2021 earnings at $4.91 EPS.

MRK has been the topic of a number of other research reports. SunTrust Banks upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and increased their target price for the stock from $54.00 to $72.00 in a research note on Tuesday, January 16th. BMO Capital Markets set a $70.00 target price on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 11th. Jefferies Group reiterated a “sell” rating and issued a $55.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Friday, October 20th. ValuEngine upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 10th. Finally, Citigroup upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. to a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, October 30th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and ten have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $66.88.

Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) opened at $55.88 on Tuesday. The stock has a market capitalization of $152,240.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 60.09, a P/E/G ratio of 2.51 and a beta of 0.75. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52-week low of $53.63 and a 52-week high of $66.80. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57, a current ratio of 1.43 and a quick ratio of 1.16.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.94 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $10.43 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.48 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 27.73% and a net margin of 6.40%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s revenue was up 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.89 earnings per share. analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.18 EPS for the current year.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase plan on Tuesday, November 28th that permits the company to buyback $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the company to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are typically an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

In other news, EVP Michael J. Holston sold 12,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total transaction of $770,375.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, January 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $58.00, for a total value of $290,000.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 101,484 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,886,072. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 77,500 shares of company stock worth $4,758,175. Insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in MRK. Honeywell International Inc. boosted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.8% during the third quarter. Honeywell International Inc. now owns 633,700 shares of the company’s stock valued at $40,576,000 after purchasing an additional 100,500 shares in the last quarter. Hanson McClain Inc. boosted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 65.0% during the second quarter. Hanson McClain Inc. now owns 7,662 shares of the company’s stock valued at $491,000 after purchasing an additional 3,019 shares in the last quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. boosted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.3% during the third quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 524,481 shares of the company’s stock valued at $33,582,000 after purchasing an additional 81,290 shares in the last quarter. Hartland & Co. LLC boosted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 9.5% during the second quarter. Hartland & Co. LLC now owns 44,558 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,856,000 after purchasing an additional 3,861 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Crescent Grove Advisors LLC bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the second quarter valued at about $1,092,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.24% of the company’s stock.

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About Merck & Co., Inc.

Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services and Alliances. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.

Analyst Recommendations for Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

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