Morgan Stanley set a $60.00 target price on Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) in a report released on Tuesday morning. The brokerage currently has a a hold rating on the stock.

MRK has been the subject of a number of other reports. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reiterated a neutral rating and issued a $60.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Wednesday, June 8th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reiterated an overweight rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Thursday, May 19th. 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 report on Monday, August 8th. Jefferies Group reiterated a hold rating and issued a $56.00 price objective (down from $57.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Monday, September 12th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets lowered Merck & Co. from an outperform rating to a market perform rating and set a $62.00 target price for the company. in a research note on Monday, July 18th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have issued a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of €63.31 ($70.34).

Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) opened at 62.28 on Tuesday. The firm has a market cap of $172.22 billion, a PE ratio of 34.16 and a beta of 0.63. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $61.95 and a 200-day moving average price of $57.17. Merck & Co. has a 52 week low of $47.97 and a 52 week high of $64.00.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.91 by $0.02. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 23.41% and a net margin of 13.01%. The firm earned $9.84 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.79 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.86 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts predict that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 7th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th will be paid a $0.46 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.95%. Merck & Co.’s payout ratio is currently 101.10%.

In other Merck & Co. news, EVP Clark Golestani sold 3,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of €63.03 ($70.03), for a total transaction of €189,090.00 ($210,100.00). The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 30,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, July 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of €57.49 ($63.88), for a total value of €1,724,700.00 ($1,916,333.33). Following the sale, the insider now owns 162,151 shares in the company, valued at €9,322,060.99 ($10,357,845.54). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.05% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Acrospire Investment Management LLC increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 5.9% in the second quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 1,800 shares of the company’s stock valued at $104,000 after buying an additional 100 shares in the last quarter. Roble Belko & Company Inc increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 124.7% in the second quarter. Roble Belko & Company Inc now owns 1,802 shares of the company’s stock valued at $104,000 after buying an additional 1,000 shares in the last quarter. Americafirst Capital Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co. during the second quarter valued at approximately $115,000. NewSquare Capital LLC increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 14.2% in the second quarter. NewSquare Capital LLC now owns 2,104 shares of the company’s stock valued at $121,000 after buying an additional 261 shares in the last quarter. Finally, First New York Securities LLC NY acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co. during the second quarter valued at approximately $121,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.94% of the company’s stock.

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.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:MRK

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