Merck & Company, Inc. (MRK) Stock Rating Lowered by Morgan Stanley

Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) was downgraded by analysts at Morgan Stanley from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday. They presently have a $56.00 target price on the stock. Morgan Stanley’s target price would suggest a potential upside of 1.65% from the stock’s current price.

Several other equities research analysts have also issued reports on the company. SunTrust Banks, Inc. lowered Merck & from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Monday. Barclays PLC lowered Merck & from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and reduced their price target for the company from $72.00 to $62.00 in a report on Monday. Leerink Swann lifted their price target on Merck & from $69.00 to $70.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a report on Monday, October 23rd. Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a “sell” rating and set a $55.00 price target on shares of Merck & in a report on Friday, October 20th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets set a $70.00 price target on Merck & and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 18th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $67.07.

Shares of Merck & (NYSE:MRK) opened at 55.09 on Monday. The firm has a market cap of $150.25 billion, a P/E ratio of 29.83 and a beta of 0.80. The company’s 50-day moving average is $63.71 and its 200-day moving average is $63.55. Merck & has a 52-week low of $54.41 and a 52-week high of $66.80.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Friday, October 27th. The company reported $1.11 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.08. The business had revenue of $10.33 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.54 billion. Merck & had a return on equity of 26.82% and a net margin of 11.60%. The firm’s revenue was down 2.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $1.07 EPS. Equities research analysts forecast that Merck & will post $3.92 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of MRK. Perennial Advisors LLC increased its position in Merck & by 10.7% in the 2nd quarter. Perennial Advisors LLC now owns 1,626 shares of the company’s stock worth $104,000 after buying an additional 157 shares during the period. Stelac Advisory Services LLC bought a new position in Merck & in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $104,000. Vigilant Capital Management LLC increased its position in Merck & by 16.7% in the 1st quarter. Vigilant Capital Management LLC now owns 1,746 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after buying an additional 250 shares during the period. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. increased its position in Merck & by 15.5% in the 2nd quarter. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 1,727 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after buying an additional 232 shares during the period. Finally, Solaris Asset Management LLC increased its position in Merck & by 6.3% in the 2nd quarter. Solaris Asset Management LLC now owns 1,940 shares of the company’s stock worth $124,000 after buying an additional 115 shares during the period. 72.86% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Merck &

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.

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