Citigroup set a $79.00 target price on Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) in a report issued on Tuesday morning, MarketBeat Ratings reports. The firm currently has a buy rating on the stock.

Several other brokerages have also recently issued reports on MRK. Barclays upped their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $75.00 and gave the company an overweight rating in a research report on Friday, September 7th. SunTrust Banks restated a buy rating and issued a $77.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Thursday, August 16th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $80.00 price target for the company in a research report on Monday, October 8th. Guggenheim initiated coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Monday, October 8th. They issued a buy rating for the company. Finally, Credit Suisse Group upped their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $71.00 to $81.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a research report on Thursday, October 11th. Six research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $70.24.

Shares of NYSE MRK opened at $71.22 on Tuesday. The company has a quick ratio of 1.04, a current ratio of 1.33 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52-week low of $52.83 and a 52-week high of $72.89. The company has a market capitalization of $191.27 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.89, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.22 and a beta of 0.81.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 27th. The company reported $1.06 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.03. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 3.67% and a return on equity of 32.68%. The firm had revenue of $10.47 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.28 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $1.01 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 5.4% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, research analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.27 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 5th. Stockholders of record on Monday, September 17th were given a dividend of $0.48 per share. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.70%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, September 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 48.24%.

In other news, VP Rita A. Karachun sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.01, for a total transaction of $325,050.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. acquired 666,666 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 1st. The shares were purchased at an average price of $15.00 per share, with a total value of $9,999,990.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 929,360 shares of company stock valued at $64,370,599. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of MRK. Rockland Trust Co. bought a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the second quarter worth $3,949,000. Sawyer & Company Inc boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.7% during the second quarter. Sawyer & Company Inc now owns 22,984 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,395,000 after acquiring an additional 2,215 shares in the last quarter. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 37.0% during the second quarter. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC now owns 122,748 shares of the company’s stock worth $7,451,000 after acquiring an additional 33,153 shares in the last quarter. Jennison Associates LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 11.0% during the second quarter. Jennison Associates LLC now owns 924,946 shares of the company’s stock worth $56,144,000 after acquiring an additional 91,879 shares in the last quarter. Finally, HL Financial Services LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.7% during the second quarter. HL Financial Services LLC now owns 217,281 shares of the company’s stock worth $13,189,000 after acquiring an additional 1,540 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 72.18% of the company’s stock.

Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates in four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, asthma, nasal allergy symptoms, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, fungal, intra-abdominal infections, hypertension, arthritis and pain, inflammatory, osteoporosis, and fertility diseases.

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

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