Bank of America set a $97.00 price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) in a research note published on Thursday, Stock Target Advisor reports. The brokerage currently has a buy rating on the stock.

Several other research analysts also recently commented on MRK. Cantor Fitzgerald lifted their target price on shares of Accenture from $185.00 to $199.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a report on Friday, March 29th. Citigroup lifted their target price on shares of from GBX 1,300 ($16.99) to GBX 1,450 ($18.95) and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Friday, June 21st. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a hold rating and issued a $45.00 target price on shares of SAP in a report on Wednesday, May 1st. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $24.00 target price on shares of Urovant Sciences and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Friday, June 14th. Finally, Morgan Stanley reiterated a hold rating on shares of PG&E in a report on Friday, June 21st. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and sixteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $87.67.

MRK stock opened at $79.73 on Thursday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82, a quick ratio of 1.06 and a current ratio of 1.37. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1 year low of $62.01 and a 1 year high of $87.07. The firm has a fifty day simple moving average of $82.99. The firm has a market cap of $205.28 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.37, a PEG ratio of 1.71 and a beta of 0.57.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, April 30th. The company reported $1.22 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.05 by $0.17. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 19.50% and a return on equity of 39.85%. The business had revenue of $10.82 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.45 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $1.05 EPS. Merck & Co., Inc.’s quarterly revenue was up 7.8% compared to the same quarter last year. Sell-side analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.74 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, July 8th. Stockholders of record on Monday, June 17th were issued a dividend of $0.55 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, June 14th. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.76%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 50.69%.

In other news, EVP Richard R. Deluca sold 35,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $80.00, for a total transaction of $2,800,000.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 106,064 shares in the company, valued at approximately $8,485,120. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, EVP Frank Clyburn sold 25,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $77.73, for a total transaction of $1,943,250.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 92,604 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,198,108.92. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 276,718 shares of company stock worth $23,257,469. Insiders own 0.27% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 5.6% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 194,589,541 shares of the company’s stock worth $14,868,587,000 after purchasing an additional 10,315,510 shares during the period. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 17,936.7% during the 4th quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 53,150,490 shares of the company’s stock valued at $696,000 after acquiring an additional 52,855,811 shares in the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.4% during the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 34,032,366 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,596,161,000 after acquiring an additional 3,219,877 shares in the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.0% during the 4th quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 32,497,759 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,483,154,000 after acquiring an additional 951,911 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Norges Bank acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter valued at about $2,166,688,000. Institutional investors own 75.08% of the company’s stock.

About Merck & Co., Inc.

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

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