Analysts Set Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Price Target at $76.26

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) has earned a consensus recommendation of “Buy” from the eighteen ratings firms that are covering the firm, Marketbeat reports. Six investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold recommendation and eleven have assigned a buy recommendation to the company. The average 1 year target price among analysts that have issued ratings on the stock in the last year is $76.26.

Several research firms have commented on MRK. Cantor Fitzgerald reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $95.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Friday. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Tuesday, February 19th. Argus upped their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. to $95.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, February 20th. Credit Suisse Group set a $86.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, December 13th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $83.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Friday, January 4th.

Shares of NYSE:MRK opened at $83.17 on Wednesday. The company has a current ratio of 1.17, a quick ratio of 0.92 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.74. The stock has a market capitalization of $224.24 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.16, a P/E/G ratio of 2.02 and a beta of 0.62. Merck & Co., Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $52.83 and a fifty-two week high of $83.47.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Friday, February 1st. The company reported $1.04 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $11 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.93 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 14.71% and a return on equity of 36.83%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 5.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.98 EPS. On average, analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.65 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 5th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 15th will be given a dividend of $0.55 per share. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.65%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, March 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 50.69%.

In other news, Director Leslie A. Brun sold 3,052 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $77.22, for a total transaction of $235,675.44. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 5,000 shares in the company, valued at $386,100. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 231,566 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, February 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.08, for a total value of $18,080,673.28. Following the sale, the chairman now owns 923,516 shares in the company, valued at $72,108,129.28. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 1,094,632 shares of company stock worth $87,840,652. Company insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. PRW Wealth Management LLC bought a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the fourth quarter worth approximately $41,000. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 186.4% in the fourth quarter. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. now owns 653 shares of the company’s stock worth $50,000 after purchasing an additional 425 shares during the last quarter. Aspire Private Capital LLC bought a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the fourth quarter worth approximately $55,000. Arlington Partners LLC increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 93.5% in the fourth quarter. Arlington Partners LLC now owns 828 shares of the company’s stock worth $63,000 after purchasing an additional 400 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Advisors Preferred LLC bought a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the fourth quarter worth approximately $66,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.36% of the company’s stock.

Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile

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.

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

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