The FY2016 Earnings Estimate for Merck & Co. Issued By Leerink Swann (MRK)

The FY2016 Earnings Estimate for Merck & Co. Issued By Leerink Swann (MRK)

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) – Stock analysts at Leerink Swann increased their FY2016 earnings per share (EPS) estimates for shares of Merck & Co. in a research report issued to clients and investors on Thursday. Leerink Swann analyst S. Fernandez now forecasts that the firm will earn $3.74 per share for the year, up from their previous forecast of $3.73. Leerink Swann has a “Hold” rating and a $58.00 price target on the stock.

Other research analysts also recently issued reports about the stock. Argus reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $65.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Wednesday, September 14th. Morgan Stanley set a $60.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 13th. Jefferies Group reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $56.00 target price (down from $57.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Monday, September 12th. Berenberg Bank reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $62.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Sunday, September 11th. Finally, Barclays PLC lifted their target price on shares of Merck & Co. from $66.00 to $72.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, September 9th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have given a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of €63.20 ($70.23).

Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) opened at 62.77 on Monday. The firm has a market cap of $173.57 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 34.43 and a beta of 0.68. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $62.66 and a 200 day moving average of $58.40. Merck & Co. has a 52-week low of $47.97 and a 52-week high of $64.00.

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Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. Merck & Co. had a net margin of 13.01% and a return on equity of 23.41%. The company earned $9.84 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.79 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.86 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 1.9% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 174,819,694 shares of the company’s stock worth $10,071,362,000 after buying an additional 3,242,254 shares during the period. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 0.7% in the second quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 74,363,785 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,284,098,000 after buying an additional 535,407 shares during the period. BlackRock Fund Advisors raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 4.0% in the second quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 44,732,600 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,577,045,000 after buying an additional 1,701,520 shares during the period. BlackRock Group LTD raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 2.0% in the first quarter. BlackRock Group LTD now owns 27,068,748 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,432,206,000 after buying an additional 525,220 shares during the period. Finally, Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 6.2% in the second quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 26,224,184 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,510,776,000 after buying an additional 1,531,565 shares during the period. 72.93% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

In related news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction 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 owns 760,877 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €47,029,807.37 ($52,255,341.52). The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction 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 directly owns 128,973 shares in the company, valued at approximately €8,005,354.11 ($8,894,837.90). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th were given a dividend of $0.46 per share. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.93%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, September 13th. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 101.10%.

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