ValuEngine upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Wednesday morning.

A number of other equities analysts have also weighed in on MRK. Barclays lowered Merck & Co., Inc. from an overweight rating to an equal weight rating and reduced their price objective for the company from $72.00 to $62.00 in a research note on Monday, October 30th. UBS Group reduced their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $72.00 to $67.00 and set a buy rating for the company in a research note on Monday, October 30th. BMO Capital Markets set a $70.00 price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 11th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $70.00 price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Sunday, October 29th. Finally, Citigroup upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. to a buy rating in a research note on Monday, October 30th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $66.06.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) traded up $1.06 during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $58.66. The firm has a market capitalization of $159,990.00, a P/E ratio of 56.95, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.93 and a beta of 0.76. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52-week low of $53.63 and a 52-week high of $66.80. The company has a current ratio of 1.43, a quick ratio of 1.16 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings data on Friday, October 27th. The company reported $1.11 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.08. The business had revenue of $10.33 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.54 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 27.08% and a net margin of 11.60%. The company’s revenue was down 2.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $1.07 EPS. research analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 3.95 earnings per share for the current year.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its board has initiated a stock buyback program on Tuesday, November 28th that permits the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are often an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, January 8th. Investors of record on Friday, December 15th were issued a $0.48 dividend. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.27%. This is a boost from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.47. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, December 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is presently 186.41%.

In related news, Director Thomas H. Glocer sold 5,000 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. 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 transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of MRK. Perennial Advisors LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.7% during the 2nd quarter. Perennial Advisors LLC now owns 1,626 shares of the company’s stock worth $104,000 after purchasing an additional 157 shares during the last quarter. Stelac Advisory Services LLC acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $104,000. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 15.5% during the 2nd quarter. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 1,727 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after purchasing an additional 232 shares during the last quarter. NewSquare Capital LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 728.3% during the 3rd quarter. NewSquare Capital LLC now owns 14,801 shares of the company’s stock worth $115,000 after purchasing an additional 13,014 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Solaris Asset Management LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 6.3% during the 2nd quarter. Solaris Asset Management LLC now owns 1,940 shares of the company’s stock worth $124,000 after purchasing an additional 115 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 73.63% of the company’s stock.

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About Merck & Co., Inc.

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.

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

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