Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) – Equities research analysts at Leerink Swann raised their Q3 2016 earnings per share (EPS) estimates for shares of Merck & Co. in a note issued to investors on Thursday. Leerink Swann analyst S. Fernandez now anticipates that the firm will post earnings per share of $0.97 for the quarter, up from their previous forecast of $0.96. Leerink Swann has a “Hold” rating and a $58.00 price target on the stock. Leerink Swann also issued estimates for Merck & Co.’s FY2018 earnings at $4.34 EPS and FY2019 earnings at $4.84 EPS.
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 Thomson Reuters’ 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 firm earned $9.84 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.79 billion. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.86 earnings per share. Merck & Co.’s revenue was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year.
MRK has been the topic of several other reports. BMO Capital Markets lowered 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 research report on Monday, July 18th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Sanford C. Bernstein reiterated an “outperform” rating and issued a $74.00 price objective (up from $66.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Thursday, August 11th. Piper Jaffray Cos. reiterated a “neutral” rating and issued a $62.00 price objective (up from $58.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Monday, August 8th. Credit Suisse Group AG reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $59.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Wednesday, July 13th. Finally, Jefferies Group decreased their price objective on shares of Merck & Co. from $54.00 to $53.00 and set a “hold” rating on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, June 14th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have assigned a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of €63.20 ($70.23).
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) opened at 62.77 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of $173.57 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 34.43 and a beta of 0.68. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $62.66 and its 200 day moving average is $58.40. Merck & Co. has a 52 week low of $47.97 and a 52 week high of $64.00.
A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Raymond James Trust N.A. increased its stake 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 valued at $19,457,000 after buying an additional 10,865 shares during the period. Emerald Acquisition Ltd. bought a new stake in Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth $274,347,000. Nordea Investment Management AB increased its stake in 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 last quarter. Orbis Allan Gray Ltd bought a new stake in Merck & Co. during the first quarter worth $239,761,000. Finally, Envestnet Asset Management Inc. increased its stake in 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 last quarter. 72.93% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.
In other Merck & Co. news, EVP Clark Golestani sold 3,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of €63.03 ($70.03), for a total value of €189,090.00 ($210,100.00). The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of the 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 completion of the sale, the chairman now directly owns 760,877 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately €47,029,807.37 ($52,255,341.52). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.05% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 15th were given a $0.46 dividend. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.93%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, September 13th. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 101.10%.
About Merck & Co.
Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, which it markets directly and through its joint ventures. It operates through one segment, Pharmaceutical. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.
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