Analysts Set Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Target Price at $73.98

Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) have been given a consensus recommendation of “Buy” by the eighteen research firms that are covering the company, Marketbeat Ratings reports. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. The average twelve-month price objective among brokerages that have issued a report on the stock in the last year is $73.98.

A number of research firms have recently issued reports on MRK. Wolfe Research began coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, October 23rd. They issued an “outperform” rating for the company. BMO Capital Markets increased their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $82.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Monday, October 22nd. ValuEngine upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, October 18th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $79.00 target price for the company in a research note on Wednesday, September 26th. Finally, Citigroup increased their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $79.00 to $84.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 31st.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, EVP Richard R. Deluca sold 25,467 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, October 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $72.00, for a total transaction of $1,833,624.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 82,135 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,913,720. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, SVP Ashley Watson sold 47,036 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, October 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $74.33, for a total value of $3,496,185.88. Following the sale, the senior vice president now owns 32,990 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,452,146.70. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 612,043 shares of company stock valued at $45,530,574. 0.32% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of MRK. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.5% during the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 202,833,998 shares of the company’s stock worth $14,389,044,000 after buying an additional 924,701 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc lifted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.5% during the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 202,833,998 shares of the company’s stock worth $14,389,044,000 after buying an additional 924,701 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. lifted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.5% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 185,546,933 shares of the company’s stock worth $11,262,699,000 after buying an additional 831,243 shares during the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp lifted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 184,252.6% during the 3rd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 38,985,039 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,765,600,000 after buying an additional 38,963,892 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Capital International Investors lifted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 178.2% during the 3rd quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 32,984,606 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,339,928,000 after buying an additional 21,127,887 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.58% of the company’s stock.

MRK stock opened at $74.90 on Friday. The company has a quick ratio of 1.15, a current ratio of 1.44 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1 year low of $52.83 and a 1 year high of $80.19. The stock has a market capitalization of $203.32 billion, a PE ratio of 18.82, a P/E/G ratio of 1.82 and a beta of 0.67.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.14 by $0.05. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 34.48% and a net margin of 8.44%. The business had revenue of $10.79 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.87 billion. Equities analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 earnings per share for the current year.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase plan on Thursday, October 25th that allows the company to buyback $10.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to reacquire up to 5.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are often an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 17th were paid a dividend of $0.55 per share. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.94%. The ex-dividend date was Friday, December 14th. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 55.28%.

Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile

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

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