Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) had its target price decreased by Credit Suisse Group from $75.00 to $74.00 in a research report report published on Wednesday morning. Credit Suisse Group currently has an outperform rating on the stock.

MRK has been the topic of several other reports. J P Morgan Chase & Co upped their target price on shares of Merck & from $74.00 to $76.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research report on Thursday, May 11th. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Merck & from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 2nd. Vetr upgraded shares of Merck & from a sell rating to a strong-buy rating and set a $71.50 target price on the stock in a research report on Monday, May 15th. Cowen and Company restated a market perform rating and set a $70.00 target price (up from $68.00) on shares of Merck & in a research report on Thursday, May 11th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets upped their target price on shares of Merck & from $68.00 to $70.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a research report on Thursday, May 11th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $69.74.

Shares of Merck & (MRK) opened at 63.83 on Wednesday. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $62.82 and its 200-day moving average price is $63.76. Merck & has a 52-week low of $58.29 and a 52-week high of $66.80. The firm has a market capitalization of $174.09 billion, a PE ratio of 34.56 and a beta of 0.81. Merck & also saw unusually large options trading activity on Thursday. Stock investors acquired 9,467 put options on the stock. This represents an increase of 318% compared to the average volume of 2,264 put options.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last issued its earnings results on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.14. Merck & had a net margin of 17.14% and a return on equity of 26.02%. The company had revenue of $9.93 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.75 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $0.93 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts anticipate that Merck & will post $3.88 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 6th. Investors of record on Friday, September 15th will be given a dividend of $0.47 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 14th. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.95%. Merck &’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 76.11%.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Raymond James Trust N.A. increased its position in Merck & by 21.6% in the first quarter. Raymond James Trust N.A. now owns 412,110 shares of the company’s stock worth $26,186,000 after buying an additional 73,159 shares in the last quarter. Weaver C. Barksdale & Associates Inc. increased its position in Merck & by 39.5% in the first quarter. Weaver C. Barksdale & Associates Inc. now owns 22,272 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,415,000 after buying an additional 6,302 shares in the last quarter. Osborn Williams & Donohoe LLC increased its position in Merck & by 0.6% in the first quarter. Osborn Williams & Donohoe LLC now owns 35,129 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,232,000 after buying an additional 225 shares in the last quarter. Northstar Group Inc. increased its position in Merck & by 0.5% in the first quarter. Northstar Group Inc. now owns 12,778 shares of the company’s stock worth $811,000 after buying an additional 58 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Catawba Capital Management VA increased its position in Merck & by 1.5% in the first quarter. Catawba Capital Management VA now owns 55,826 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,547,000 after buying an additional 820 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.00% of the company’s stock.

Merck & 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.

Analyst Recommendations for Merck & (NYSE:MRK)

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