Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) – Investment analysts at Jefferies Group lowered their FY2016 earnings per share estimates for shares of Merck & Co. in a research report issued on Thursday. Jefferies Group analyst J. Holford now expects that the firm will earn $3.75 per share for the year, down from their previous estimate of $3.80. Jefferies Group has a “Hold” rating and a $65.00 price target on the stock. Jefferies Group also issued estimates for Merck & Co.’s FY2018 earnings at $4.34 EPS, FY2019 earnings at $4.56 EPS and FY2020 earnings at $4.84 EPS.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. The company earned $9.84 billion during 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%. Merck & Co.’s revenue for the quarter was up .6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.86 earnings per share.
Several other brokerages also recently commented on MRK. Barclays PLC increased their price objective on shares of Merck & Co. from $66.00 to $72.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, September 9th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $70.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Friday. Sanford C. Bernstein reissued an “outperform” rating and set a $74.00 price objective (up 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 note on Tuesday, September 13th. Finally, Leerink Swann restated a “market perform” rating and set a $65.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Wednesday, October 12th. Twelve equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of €65.58 ($72.87).
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) opened at 62.14 on Monday. The company’s 50-day moving average is $62.56 and its 200 day moving average is $58.70. Merck & Co. has a 52 week low of $47.97 and a 52 week high of $64.86. The stock has a market cap of $171.83 billion, a PE ratio of 34.09 and a beta of 0.68.
Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of MRK. Acrospire Investment Management LLC raised its position in Merck & Co. by 5.9% in the second quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 1,800 shares of the company’s stock worth $104,000 after buying an additional 100 shares during the period. Roble Belko & Company Inc raised its position in Merck & Co. by 124.7% in the second quarter. Roble Belko & Company Inc now owns 1,802 shares of the company’s stock worth $104,000 after buying an additional 1,000 shares during the period. Americafirst Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth $115,000. NewSquare Capital LLC raised its position in Merck & Co. by 14.2% in the second quarter. NewSquare Capital LLC now owns 2,104 shares of the company’s stock worth $121,000 after buying an additional 261 shares during the period. Finally, First New York Securities LLC NY acquired a new position in Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth $121,000. 72.93% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
In related news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of the firm’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 value of €24,229,520.00 ($26,921,688.89). Following the completion of 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 transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, EVP Clark Golestani sold 3,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of €63.03 ($70.03), for a total transaction of €189,090.00 ($210,100.00). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.05% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.
The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th were issued a $0.46 dividend. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.96%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, September 13th. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 101.10%.
Merck & Co. Company Profile
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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