Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) – Investment analysts at SunTrust Banks decreased their FY2018 earnings estimates for Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note issued to investors on Thursday. SunTrust Banks analyst J. Boris now expects that the company will post earnings per share of $4.04 for the year, down from their prior estimate of $4.07. SunTrust Banks has a “Hold” rating on the stock. SunTrust Banks also issued estimates for Merck & Co., Inc.’s FY2019 earnings at $4.23 EPS, FY2020 earnings at $4.56 EPS and FY2021 earnings at $5.00 EPS.

Other equities analysts also recently issued research reports about the company. BMO Capital Markets set a $70.00 price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 11th. J P Morgan Chase & Co set a $70.00 target price on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Sunday, October 29th. Citigroup raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, October 18th. UBS cut their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $72.00 to $67.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, October 30th. Finally, Sanford C. Bernstein reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $64.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Wednesday, November 15th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $66.29.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) traded down $0.12 on Monday, reaching $56.11. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 13,122,256 shares, compared to its average volume of 9,833,646. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57, a quick ratio of 1.16 and a current ratio of 1.43. The company has a market capitalization of $153,167.86, a P/E ratio of 14.45, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.90 and a beta of 0.76. Merck & Co., Inc. has a twelve month low of $53.63 and a twelve month high of $66.80.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, October 27th. The company reported $1.11 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.03 by $0.08. The business had revenue of $10.33 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.54 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 27.08% and a net margin of 11.60%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 2.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.07 earnings per share.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, January 8th. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 15th will be given a $0.48 dividend. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.42%. This is a boost from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.47. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 114.97%.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its board has authorized a stock repurchase plan on Tuesday, November 28th that permits the company to buyback $10.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization permits the company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are generally a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, Director Thomas H. Glocer sold 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $56.20, for a total value of $281,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Company insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Janus Henderson Group PLC raised its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 172.3% during the 3rd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 6,705,564 shares of the company’s stock valued at $429,347,000 after purchasing an additional 4,243,246 shares during the period. Capital International Investors raised its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 55.3% during the 3rd quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 9,623,382 shares of the company’s stock valued at $616,185,000 after purchasing an additional 3,428,400 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.7% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 194,144,317 shares of the company’s stock valued at $12,442,709,000 after purchasing an additional 3,312,459 shares during the period. Stifel Financial Corp grew its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 95,700.4% during the 3rd quarter. Stifel Financial Corp now owns 3,281,163 shares of the company’s stock valued at $210,016,000 after buying an additional 3,277,738 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. grew its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 415.5% during the 3rd quarter. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. now owns 3,560,465 shares of the company’s stock valued at $227,977,000 after buying an additional 2,869,844 shares in the last quarter. 73.63% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Merck & Co., Inc. 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. 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.

Earnings History and Estimates for Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

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