Investors Buy Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) on Weakness

Investors bought shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) on weakness during trading hours on Thursday. $168.83 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $70.93 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $97.90 million into the stock. Of all equities tracked, Merck & Co., Inc. had the 3rd highest net in-flow for the day. Merck & Co., Inc. traded down ($0.01) for the day and closed at $54.53

MRK has been the subject of several recent analyst reports. BMO Capital Markets set a $68.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, December 13th. ValuEngine raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 10th. SunTrust Banks raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and lifted their price objective for the stock from $54.00 to $72.00 in a research report on Tuesday, January 16th. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $55.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Tuesday, January 16th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group cut their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $67.00 to $66.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, February 5th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $66.47.

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The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.62, a quick ratio of 1.06 and a current ratio of 1.33. The company has a market cap of $147,023.23, a P/E ratio of 13.70, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.30 and a beta of 0.78.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.94 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $10.43 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.48 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 6.40% and a return on equity of 28.61%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s quarterly revenue was up 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.89 earnings per share. research analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.16 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, April 6th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 15th were paid a $0.48 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, March 14th. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.60%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 48.24%.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, EVP Michael J. Holston sold 12,500 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total value of $770,375.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total transaction of $3,697,800.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 101,484 shares in the company, valued at $6,254,458.92. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 82,500 shares of company stock worth $5,026,025. 0.25% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Santori & Peters Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the fourth quarter worth about $110,000. Stevens First Principles Investment Advisors increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 79.3% during the fourth quarter. Stevens First Principles Investment Advisors now owns 2,080 shares of the company’s stock worth $117,000 after acquiring an additional 920 shares during the period. Balentine LLC increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.0% during the second quarter. Balentine LLC now owns 2,107 shares of the company’s stock worth $135,000 after acquiring an additional 20 shares during the period. Risk Paradigm Group LLC increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 748.1% during the second quarter. Risk Paradigm Group LLC now owns 2,256 shares of the company’s stock worth $145,000 after acquiring an additional 1,990 shares during the period. Finally, Avestar Capital LLC acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the fourth quarter worth about $130,000. Institutional investors own 74.63% of the company’s stock.

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About Merck & Co., Inc.

Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services and Alliances. 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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