Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) Coverage Initiated by Analysts at Leerink Swann

Analysts at Leerink Swann assumed coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) in a research report issued to clients and investors on Thursday, The Fly reports. The firm set an “outperform” rating on the stock.

Several other equities research analysts have also commented on the stock. JPMorgan Chase & Co. upped their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $90.00 to $93.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, June 14th. Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $95.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Wednesday, August 7th. Argus upped their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. to $105.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 7th. Bank of America set a $97.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, July 11th. Finally, Atlantic Securities raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating in a report on Monday, May 13th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and sixteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $91.07.

Shares of NYSE MRK traded up $0.06 during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $83.46. The stock had a trading volume of 8,819,176 shares, compared to its average volume of 10,829,997. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82, a quick ratio of 0.92 and a current ratio of 1.21. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $83.37. Merck & Co., Inc. has a twelve month low of $66.10 and a twelve month high of $87.07. The stock has a market cap of $219.45 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.23, a PEG ratio of 1.74 and a beta of 0.56.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 30th. The company reported $1.30 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.16 by $0.14. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 21.10% and a return on equity of 43.34%. The company had revenue of $11.76 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.94 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $1.06 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 12.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.91 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other news, CFO Robert M. Davis sold 216,718 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, June 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.43, for a total transaction of $18,514,218.74. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 354,378 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $30,274,512.54. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, EVP Richard R. Deluca sold 6,427 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $85.09, for a total transaction of $546,873.43. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 103,223 shares in the company, valued at $8,783,245.07. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.27% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of MRK. Gantzert Investment Co. LLC ADV bought a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter worth $2,373,000. Buckingham Capital Management Inc. increased its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 4.8% during the 4th quarter. Buckingham Capital Management Inc. now owns 69,479 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,309,000 after buying an additional 3,177 shares during the period. Nations Financial Group Inc. IA ADV increased its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.5% during the 4th quarter. Nations Financial Group Inc. IA ADV now owns 13,318 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,018,000 after buying an additional 446 shares during the period. Mcmillion Capital Management Inc. bought a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter worth $3,074,000. Finally, Corient Capital Partners LLC increased its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 25.7% during the 4th quarter. Corient Capital Partners LLC now owns 27,769 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,122,000 after buying an additional 5,682 shares during the period. 75.34% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, intra-abdominal, fungal infection, insomnia, and inflammatory diseases.

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The Fly

Analyst Recommendations for Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

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