Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)’s share price reached a new 52-week high on Monday after Barclays raised their price target on the stock from $70.00 to $75.00. Barclays currently has an overweight rating on the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. traded as high as $70.59 and last traded at $69.65, with a volume of 262365 shares changing hands. The stock had previously closed at $69.88.

Other equities analysts also recently issued research reports about the company. TheStreet raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a research report on Friday, June 8th. Morgan Stanley set a $74.00 target price on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 23rd. SunTrust Banks reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $77.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Thursday, August 16th. Bank of America upped their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $74.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, July 30th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $70.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Sunday, July 22nd. Six research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $67.93.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 228,091 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, July 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.00, for a total value of $14,825,915.00. Following the transaction, the chairman now owns 938,788 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $61,021,220. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 134,094 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, June 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.00, for a total value of $8,179,734.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 100,000 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,100,000. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 396,393 shares of company stock worth $25,235,061 in the last ninety days. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Cobblestone Capital Advisors LLC NY lifted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.4% during the 2nd quarter. Cobblestone Capital Advisors LLC NY now owns 187,080 shares of the company’s stock worth $11,356,000 after purchasing an additional 774 shares during the last quarter. Associated Banc Corp lifted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.3% during the 2nd quarter. Associated Banc Corp now owns 251,933 shares of the company’s stock worth $15,293,000 after purchasing an additional 776 shares during the last quarter. Twin Capital Management Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.3% during the 2nd quarter. Twin Capital Management Inc. now owns 269,930 shares of the company’s stock worth $16,385,000 after purchasing an additional 780 shares during the last quarter. Checchi Capital Advisers LLC lifted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.0% during the 2nd quarter. Checchi Capital Advisers LLC now owns 26,914 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,634,000 after purchasing an additional 792 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Nicollet Investment Management Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.2% during the 2nd quarter. Nicollet Investment Management Inc. now owns 36,898 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,240,000 after purchasing an additional 805 shares during the last quarter. 72.19% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a current ratio of 1.33 and a quick ratio of 1.04. The company has a market capitalization of $187.84 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.39, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.40 and a beta of 0.81.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 27th. The company reported $1.06 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.03 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $10.47 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.28 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 32.68% and a net margin of 3.67%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 5.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $1.01 EPS. analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.27 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 5th. Investors of record on Monday, September 17th will be paid a dividend of $0.48 per share. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.78%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, September 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 48.24%.

About Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates in four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, asthma, nasal allergy symptoms, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, fungal, intra-abdominal infections, hypertension, arthritis and pain, inflammatory, osteoporosis, and fertility diseases.

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