Today: Barclays PLC Reaffirms “Overweight” Rating for Merck & Co. (MRK)

Today: Barclays PLC Reaffirms “Overweight” Rating for Merck & Co. (MRK)

Barclays PLC reissued their overweight rating on shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday morning.

Several other brokerages have also recently weighed in on MRK. Jefferies Group boosted their price target on shares of Merck & Co. from $53.00 to $57.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a research report on Monday, August 8th. Sanford C. Bernstein reissued an outperform rating and set a $74.00 price target (up previously from $66.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Thursday, August 11th. Morgan Stanley set a $60.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. and gave the company a hold rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 13th. BMO Capital Markets raised shares of Merck & Co. from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and upped their target price for the company from $62.00 to $72.00 in a research report on Friday, August 5th. Finally, Leerink Swann reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $58.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Thursday, July 14th. Twelve research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of €65.58 ($72.87).

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded down 0.89% on Wednesday, reaching $61.59. 1,831,101 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. The stock has a market cap of $170.31 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 33.78 and a beta of 0.68. Merck & Co. has a one year low of $47.97 and a one year high of $64.86. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $62.56 and a 200-day moving average of $58.70.

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

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 15th were paid a $0.46 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.96%. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 101.10%.

In other news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 5th. The shares were 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 in the company, valued at €47,029,807.37 ($52,255,341.52). The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 3rd. The stock was 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 transaction, the insider now owns 128,973 shares in the company, valued at €8,005,354.11 ($8,894,837.90). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in MRK. Raymond James Trust N.A. raised its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 3.3% in the second quarter. Raymond James Trust N.A. now owns 337,745 shares of the company’s stock worth $19,457,000 after buying an additional 10,865 shares during the period. Emerald Acquisition Ltd. acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth about $274,347,000. Nordea Investment Management AB raised its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 16.1% in the second quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 2,411,985 shares of the company’s stock worth $138,954,000 after buying an additional 334,806 shares during the period. Orbis Allan Gray Ltd acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co. during the first quarter worth about $239,761,000. Finally, Envestnet Asset Management Inc. raised its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 7.0% in the first quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 1,107,242 shares of the company’s stock worth $58,584,000 after buying an additional 72,808 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.93% of the company’s stock.

About Merck & Co.

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