Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) – Equities research analysts at Leerink Swann issued their Q1 2018 earnings per share (EPS) estimates for Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report issued to clients and investors on Monday. Leerink Swann analyst S. Fernandez forecasts that the company will post earnings per share of $0.96 for the quarter. Leerink Swann currently has a “Market Perform” rating and a $67.00 target price on the stock. Leerink Swann also issued estimates for Merck & Co., Inc.’s 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.

Several other equities analysts also recently weighed in on MRK. Credit Suisse Group cut their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $67.00 to $66.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a research report on Monday. ValuEngine downgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, February 2nd. Morgan Stanley boosted their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $60.00 to $63.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Wednesday. Barclays downgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and cut their target price for the company from $72.00 to $62.00 in a research report on Monday, October 30th. Finally, UBS Group cut their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $72.00 to $67.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research report 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 assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $66.88.

Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) opened at $54.98 on Wednesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $149,110.00, a P/E ratio of 58.85, a PEG ratio of 2.51 and a beta of 0.75. The company has a current ratio of 1.43, a quick ratio of 1.16 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12-month low of $53.63 and a 12-month high of $66.80.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its earnings results on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.94 by $0.04. The firm had revenue of $10.43 billion for 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%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.89 EPS.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock buyback program on Tuesday, November 28th that permits the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are generally a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 6th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 15th will be given a $0.48 dividend. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.49%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 206.45%.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, January 12th. The stock was 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 of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $5,886,072. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Michael J. Holston sold 12,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total value of $770,375.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 77,500 shares of company stock worth $4,758,175 in the last ninety days. 0.25% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. State of Wisconsin Investment Board lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 4.5% in the 4th quarter. State of Wisconsin Investment Board now owns 3,545,910 shares of the company’s stock worth $199,528,000 after buying an additional 151,402 shares during the period. RFG Advisory Group LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 9.1% in the 4th quarter. RFG Advisory Group LLC now owns 14,602 shares of the company’s stock worth $827,000 after buying an additional 1,220 shares during the period. First Allied Advisory Services Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.7% in the 4th quarter. First Allied Advisory Services Inc. now owns 67,912 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,810,000 after buying an additional 1,107 shares during the period. D.A. Davidson & CO. lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 16.6% in the 4th quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 611,488 shares of the company’s stock worth $34,408,000 after buying an additional 87,007 shares during the period. Finally, Ausdal Financial Partners Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 36.8% in the 4th quarter. Ausdal Financial Partners Inc. now owns 6,966 shares of the company’s stock worth $392,000 after buying an additional 1,873 shares during the period. 73.24% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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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.

Earnings History and Estimates for Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

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