Trading Report: The Merck & Co. (MRK) Receives “Market Perform” Rating from Leerink Swann

The Merck & Co. (MRK) Receives “Market Perform” Rating from Leerink Swann

Leerink Swann restated their market perform rating on shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) in a report published on Wednesday morning. They currently have a $65.00 price objective on the stock.

MRK has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Piper Jaffray Cos. reaffirmed a neutral rating and set a $62.00 price target (up previously from $58.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Monday, August 8th. Vetr downgraded shares of Merck & Co. from a buy rating to a hold rating and set a $64.84 price objective on the stock. in a report on Monday. Argus reissued a buy rating and issued a $65.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Wednesday, September 14th. Jefferies Group reissued a hold rating and issued a $56.00 price objective (down previously from $57.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Monday, September 12th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets downgraded shares of Merck & Co. from an outperform rating to a market perform rating and set a $62.00 price objective on the stock. in a report on Monday, July 18th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Twelve investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of €64.74 ($71.93).

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded up 0.9351% during trading on Wednesday, reaching $62.2366. 3,969,463 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. The company has a market cap of $172.10 billion, a P/E ratio of 34.1397 and a beta of 0.68. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $62.58 and its 200-day moving average is $58.61. Merck & Co. has a 12-month low of $47.97 and a 12-month high of $64.86.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.91 by $0.02. The firm had revenue of $9.84 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.79 billion. Merck & Co. had a net margin of 13.01% and a return on equity of 23.41%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.86 EPS. Analysts predict that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 15th were paid a dividend of $0.46 per share. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.98%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, September 13th. Merck & Co.’s payout ratio is 101.10%.

In other Merck & Co. news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction on Monday, October 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of €62.07 ($68.97), for a total transaction of €2,532,456.00 ($2,813,840.00). Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 128,973 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €8,005,354.11 ($8,894,837.90). The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction on Friday, August 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of €61.81 ($68.68), for a total transaction of €24,229,520.00 ($26,921,688.89). Following the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 760,877 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €47,029,807.37 ($52,255,341.52). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Emerald Acquisition Ltd. purchased a new position in Merck & Co. during the second quarter valued at approximately $274,347,000. Orbis Allan Gray Ltd purchased a new position in Merck & Co. during the first quarter valued at approximately $239,761,000. Ameriprise Financial Inc. raised its position in Merck & Co. by 24.1% in the second quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 22,992,642 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,324,996,000 after buying an additional 4,468,488 shares during the last quarter. Bank of Montreal Can purchased a new position in Merck & Co. during the second quarter valued at approximately $250,542,000. Finally, Boston Partners raised its position in Merck & Co. by 23.8% in the second quarter. Boston Partners now owns 19,034,299 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,096,566,000 after buying an additional 3,655,639 shares during the last quarter. 72.93% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Merck & Co.

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