Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Downgraded by ValuEngine

ValuEngine downgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Thursday morning, ValuEngine reports.

A number of other research analysts have also weighed in on MRK. Morgan Stanley set a $81.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, December 20th. Citigroup set a $65.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Thursday, December 20th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $83.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Friday, January 4th. BMO Capital Markets lowered shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from an outperform rating to a market perform rating and set a $80.00 price target on the stock. in a research note on Wednesday, January 23rd. Finally, Argus lifted their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. to $95.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 20th. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $78.74.

Shares of MRK opened at $73.19 on Thursday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.74, a quick ratio of 0.92 and a current ratio of 1.17. Merck & Co., Inc. has a twelve month low of $56.26 and a twelve month high of $83.85. The company has a market capitalization of $197.33 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.86, a P/E/G ratio of 1.78 and a beta of 0.63.

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

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, April 5th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 15th were given a $0.55 dividend. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.01%. The ex-dividend date was 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 business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $77.22, for a total value of $235,675.44. Following the sale, the director now owns 5,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $386,100. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. acquired 4,121,683 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, April 8th. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $16.00 per share, for a total transaction of $65,946,928.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 1,094,632 shares of company stock worth $87,840,652. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. WP Advisors LLC acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the first quarter worth $36,000. PRW Wealth Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the fourth quarter valued at $41,000. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. increased its holdings 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 valued at $50,000 after purchasing an additional 425 shares during the last quarter. Aspire Private Capital LLC acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the fourth quarter valued at $55,000. Finally, Somerset Trust Co increased its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 311.2% in the first quarter. Somerset Trust Co now owns 699 shares of the company’s stock valued at $58,000 after purchasing an additional 529 shares during the last quarter. 73.46% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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