Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) Sets New 1-Year High After Analyst Upgrade

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRKGet Free Report) reached a new 52-week high on Monday after StockNews.com upgraded the stock from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating. The stock traded as high as $127.80 and last traded at $127.10, with a volume of 1382000 shares. The stock had previously closed at $126.41.

MRK has been the topic of several other research reports. TD Cowen raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and raised their price objective for the stock from $125.00 to $135.00 in a research note on Thursday, January 4th. Wells Fargo & Company raised their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $125.00 to $130.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Friday, February 2nd. Barclays increased their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $135.00 to $145.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. Morgan Stanley boosted their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $115.00 to $118.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a report on Friday, October 27th. Finally, UBS Group raised their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $135.00 to $148.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, February 2nd. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, sixteen have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. According to data from MarketBeat.com, Merck & Co., Inc. currently has a consensus rating of “Moderate Buy” and an average target price of $129.68.

Read Our Latest Analysis on Merck & Co., Inc.

Insider Activity at Merck & Co., Inc.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, EVP Steven Mizell sold 50,694 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $126.65, for a total value of $6,420,395.10. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 23,619 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,991,346.35. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. In related news, insider Johannes Jacobus Oosthuizen sold 2,081 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $102.38, for a total value of $213,052.78. Following the sale, the insider now owns 18,191 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,862,394.58. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, EVP Steven Mizell sold 50,694 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $126.65, for a total value of $6,420,395.10. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 23,619 shares in the company, valued at $2,991,346.35. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.20% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Hedge Funds Weigh In On Merck & Co., Inc.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Marquette Asset Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter valued at about $26,000. Your Advocates Ltd. LLP bought a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $28,000. Bare Financial Services Inc acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter worth approximately $28,000. Rakuten Securities Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 4th quarter valued at $30,000. Finally, RIA Advisory Group LLC acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter valued at $30,000. 74.59% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Merck & Co., Inc. Stock Performance

The company has a quick ratio of 1.12, a current ratio of 1.38 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82. The firm has a market capitalization of $321.52 billion, a P/E ratio of 906.29, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.66 and a beta of 0.38. The company’s 50 day moving average is $113.13 and its 200-day moving average is $108.09.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRKGet Free Report) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, February 1st. The company reported $0.03 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of ($0.09) by $0.12. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 9.07% and a net margin of 0.61%. The company had revenue of $14.63 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $14.49 billion. During the same period last year, the business posted $1.62 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.8% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, equities analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 8.62 EPS for the current year.

Merck & Co., Inc. Announces Dividend

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 5th. Investors of record on Friday, March 15th will be issued a $0.77 dividend. This represents a $3.08 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.43%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, March 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 2,200.00%.

About Merck & Co., Inc.

(Get Free Report)

Merck & Co, Inc operates as a healthcare company worldwide. It operates through two segments, Pharmaceutical and Animal Health. The Pharmaceutical segment offers human health pharmaceutical products in the areas of oncology, hospital acute care, immunology, neuroscience, virology, cardiovascular, and diabetes, as well as vaccine products, such as preventive pediatric, adolescent, and adult vaccines.

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