Investment Analysts’ Recent Ratings Changes for Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

A number of research firms have changed their ratings and price targets for Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK):

  • 10/31/2018 – Merck & Co., Inc. had its price target raised by analysts at Citigroup Inc from $79.00 to $84.00. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock.
  • 10/29/2018 – Merck & Co., Inc. had its price target raised by analysts at SunTrust Banks, Inc. from $77.00 to $80.00. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock.
  • 10/23/2018 – Merck & Co., Inc. is now covered by analysts at Wolfe Research. They set an “outperform” rating on the stock.
  • 10/22/2018 – Merck & Co., Inc. had its price target raised by analysts at BMO Capital Markets from $70.00 to $82.00. They now have an “outperform” rating on the stock.
  • 10/18/2018 – Merck & Co., Inc. was upgraded by analysts at ValuEngine from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating.
  • 10/16/2018 – Merck & Co., Inc. was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating. According to Zacks, “Merck’s new products like Keytruda, Lynparza, and Bridion should continue to drive sales. Keytruda sales are gaining strong momentum with approval for additional indications especially in the first-line lung cancer setting as it is the only anti-PD-1 approved in this setting. Animal Health unit is also strong and remains a core growth driver for Merck. Meanwhile, Merck will continue to focus on cost-cutting initiatives to drive the bottom line. However, generic competition for several drugs and pricing pressure will continue to be overhangs on the top line. Rising competitive pressure on the diabetes franchise and on products like Isentress (HIV), Zepatier (HCV) and Zostavax (vaccine) will remain headwinds. Merck’s shares have outperformed the industry this year so far. Estimates have gone up ahead of the company’s Q3 earnings release. Merck has a positive record of earnings surprises in the recent quarters.”
  • 10/16/2018 – Merck & Co., Inc. was given a new $79.00 price target on by analysts at Citigroup Inc. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock.
  • 10/12/2018 – Merck & Co., Inc. had its price target raised by analysts at Barclays PLC from $75.00 to $78.00. They now have an “overweight” rating on the stock.
  • 10/11/2018 – Merck & Co., Inc. had its price target raised by analysts at Credit Suisse Group AG from $71.00 to $81.00. They now have an “outperform” rating on the stock.
  • 10/8/2018 – Merck & Co., Inc. is now covered by analysts at Guggenheim. They set a “buy” rating on the stock.
  • 10/8/2018 – Merck & Co., Inc. was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating. They now have a $80.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Merck’s new products like Keytruda, Lynparza, and Bridion should continue to drive sales. Keytruda sales are gaining strong momentum with approval for additional indications especially in the first-line lung cancer setting as it is the only anti-PD-1 approved in this setting. Animal Health unit is also strong and remains a core growth driver for Merck. Meanwhile, Merck will continue to focus on cost-cutting initiatives to drive the bottom line. However, generic competition for several drugs and pricing pressure will continue to be overhangs on the top line. Rising competitive pressure on the diabetes franchise and on products like Isentress (HIV), Zepatier (HCV) and Zostavax (vaccine) will remain headwinds. Merck’s shares have outperformed the industry this year so far. Estimates have gone up ahead of the company’s Q3 earnings release. Merck has a positive record of earnings surprises in the recent quarters.”
  • 10/1/2018 – Merck & Co., Inc. was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating. According to Zacks, “Merck’s new products like Keytruda, Lynparza, and Bridion should continue to contribute meaningfully to the top line. Keytruda sales are gaining strong momentum with approval for additional indications especially in the first-line lung cancer setting as it is the only anti-PD-1 approved in this setting. Animal Health unit is also strong and remains a core growth driver for Merck. Meanwhile, Merck will continue to focus on cost-cutting initiatives to drive the bottom line. However, generic competition for several drugs and pricing pressure will continue to be overhangs on the top line. Rising competitive pressure on the diabetes franchise and on products like Isentress (HIV), Zepatier (HCV) and Zostavax (vaccine) will remain headwinds in 2018. Merck’s shares have outperformed the industry this year so far.”
  • 9/26/2018 – Merck & Co., Inc. was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating. They now have a $79.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Merck’s new products like Keytruda, Lynparza, and Bridion should continue to contribute meaningfully to the top line. Keytruda sales are gaining strong momentum with approval for additional indications especially in the first-line lung cancer setting as it is the only anti-PD-1 approved in this setting. Animal Health unit is also strong and remains a core growth driver for Merck. Meanwhile, Merck will continue to focus on cost-cutting initiatives to drive the bottom line. However, generic competition for several drugs and pricing pressure will continue to be overhangs on the top line. Rising competitive pressure on the diabetes franchise and on products like Isentress (HIV), Zepatier (HCV) and Zostavax (vaccine) will remain headwinds in 2018. Merck’s shares have outperformed the industry this year so far.”

Merck & Co., Inc. stock traded up $1.88 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $75.19. 7,850,373 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 13,066,367. The company has a quick ratio of 1.04, a current ratio of 1.33 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12-month low of $52.83 and a 12-month high of $74.49. The company has a market cap of $194.85 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.89, a PEG ratio of 1.96 and a beta of 0.73.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 8.44% and a return on equity of 34.20%. The business had revenue of $10.79 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.87 billion. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Stockholders of record on Monday, December 17th will be issued a $0.55 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, December 14th. This is a boost from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.93%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 48.24%.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, EVP Richard R. Deluca sold 25,467 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, October 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.00, for a total transaction of $1,833,624.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 82,135 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,913,720. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 277,879 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $73.81, for a total transaction of $20,510,248.99. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 277,879 shares in the company, valued at $20,510,248.99. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 1,017,443 shares of company stock worth $73,155,331. Company insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of MRK. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. lifted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 208.4% during the first quarter. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. now owns 1,983 shares of the company’s stock valued at $108,000 after buying an additional 1,340 shares during the last quarter. Taylor Wealth Management Partners purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the second quarter valued at about $110,000. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV lifted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 155.2% during the second quarter. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV now owns 1,832 shares of the company’s stock valued at $111,000 after buying an additional 1,114 shares during the last quarter. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC lifted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 86.5% during the third quarter. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 1,656 shares of the company’s stock valued at $117,000 after buying an additional 768 shares during the last quarter. Finally, WESPAC Advisors SoCal LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the third quarter valued at about $118,000. Institutional investors own 72.32% of the company’s stock.

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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