Merck & Co., Inc.’s (NYSE:MRK) Buy Rating Reaffirmed at Cantor Fitzgerald

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)‘s stock had its “buy” rating restated by equities researchers at Cantor Fitzgerald in a research report issued to clients and investors on Friday, March 29th, AnalystRatings.com reports. They currently have a $95.00 price target on the stock. Cantor Fitzgerald’s price objective would indicate a potential upside of 20.97% from the company’s current price.

The analysts wrote, “We rate MRK 12-month PT of $95. We think there is upside to Keytruda sales estimates. Sales growth across oncology, vaccines, animal health, and select hospital/specialty care products, as well as margin-expansion opportunities, are underappreciated, in our view. Therefore, we expect upward earnings revisions and multiple expansion in 2019+ to drive MRK’s shares higher. Valuation Summary We arrive at our 12-month price target of $95 for Merck shares by using a blend of Base case analyses.””

Other research analysts also recently issued reports about the company. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $83.00 price objective for the company in a report on Friday, January 4th. BMO Capital Markets reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Tuesday, February 19th. Credit Suisse Group set a $86.00 price target on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, December 13th. Argus raised their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. to $95.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, February 20th. Finally, Morgan Stanley set a $81.00 price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, December 20th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $77.83.

Shares of MRK traded down $0.90 during trading hours on Friday, hitting $78.53. 12,637,278 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 10,877,183. The company has a quick ratio of 0.92, a current ratio of 1.17 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.74. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $56.26 and a 1-year high of $83.85. The firm has a market capitalization of $214.16 billion, a PE ratio of 18.09, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.94 and a beta of 0.63.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings data on Friday, February 1st. The company reported $1.04 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.03 by $0.01. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 36.83% and a net margin of 14.71%. The business had revenue of $11 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.93 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.98 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 5.4% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.65 EPS for the current year.

In other news, VP Rita A. Karachun sold 64,662 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction on Thursday, February 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $78.96, for a total value of $5,105,711.52. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 53,327 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,210,699.92. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, EVP Robert M. Davis sold 192,572 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction on Monday, March 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $82.38, for a total value of $15,864,081.36. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 330,232 shares in the company, valued at approximately $27,204,512.16. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 1,094,632 shares of company stock worth $87,840,652. Corporate insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Steinberg Global Asset Management lifted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 11.9% during the 1st quarter. Steinberg Global Asset Management now owns 121,540 shares of the company’s stock worth $6,620,000 after buying an additional 12,899 shares during the period. Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC lifted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 5.0% in the 1st quarter. Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC now owns 27,744 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,307,000 after purchasing an additional 1,328 shares during the period. Hodges Capital Management Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 288.4% in the 1st quarter. Hodges Capital Management Inc. now owns 58,453 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,862,000 after purchasing an additional 43,402 shares during the period. TIAA FSB lifted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 35.9% in the 1st quarter. TIAA FSB now owns 341,544 shares of the company’s stock valued at $28,406,000 after purchasing an additional 90,150 shares during the period. Finally, Arbor Investment Advisors LLC acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 1st quarter valued at about $233,000. 73.39% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Merck & Co., Inc.

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, intra-abdominal, fungal infection, insomnia, and inflammatory diseases.

Further Reading: Intrinsic Value and Stock Selection

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

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