Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) – Investment analysts at SunTrust Banks boosted their Q3 2018 earnings per share estimates for Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note issued on Wednesday, October 17th, according to Zacks Investment Research. SunTrust Banks analyst J. Boris now anticipates that the company will earn $1.16 per share for the quarter, up from their previous estimate of $1.14. SunTrust Banks has a “Buy” rating and a $80.00 price target on the stock. SunTrust Banks also issued estimates for Merck & Co., Inc.’s Q4 2018 earnings at $1.02 EPS, FY2021 earnings at $5.55 EPS and FY2022 earnings at $5.83 EPS.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 8.44% and a return on equity of 34.48%. The firm had revenue of $10.79 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.87 billion.
Several other equities analysts also recently weighed in on MRK. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 16th. Bank of America increased their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $74.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, July 30th. Citigroup increased their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $79.00 to $84.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 31st. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $70.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Sunday, July 22nd. Finally, Wolfe Research began coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Tuesday, October 23rd. They issued an “outperform” rating on the stock. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $71.92.
Shares of MRK traded down $0.62 during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $74.86. 14,656,305 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 13,659,816. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $52.83 and a 1-year high of $75.99. The company has a quick ratio of 1.04, a current ratio of 1.44 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61. The company has a market cap of $202.43 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.81, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.04 and a beta of 0.73.
Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC raised its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 86.5% in the 3rd quarter. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 1,656 shares of the company’s stock valued at $117,000 after purchasing an additional 768 shares during the last quarter. WESPAC Advisors SoCal LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 3rd quarter worth $118,000. Taylor Wealth Management Partners acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter worth $110,000. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 155.2% in the 2nd quarter. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV now owns 1,832 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after acquiring an additional 1,114 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Clearwater Capital Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 1st quarter worth $103,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.32% of the company’s stock.
In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. bought 666,666 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 1st. The shares were purchased at an average price of $15.00 per share, for a total transaction of $9,999,990.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, insider Roger M. Perlmutter sold 225,443 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.27, for a total value of $16,969,094.61. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 366,998 shares in the company, valued at approximately $27,623,939.46. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 1,279,104 shares of company stock worth $92,845,846 in the last quarter. Insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.
Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a share repurchase program on Thursday, October 25th that authorizes the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to repurchase up to 5.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are generally a sign that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.
The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Stockholders of record on Monday, December 17th will be given a dividend of $0.55 per share. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. The ex-dividend date is Friday, December 14th. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.94%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 48.24%.
About Merck & Co., Inc.
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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