SunTrust Banks Increases Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Price Target to $80.00

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Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) had its price objective raised by equities research analysts at SunTrust Banks from $77.00 to $80.00 in a research note issued on Monday. The firm presently has a “buy” rating on the stock. SunTrust Banks’ price target suggests a potential upside of 9.78% from the stock’s current price.

Several other analysts also recently issued reports on the company. Wolfe Research began coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Tuesday, October 23rd. They issued an “outperform” rating on the stock. BMO Capital Markets raised their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $82.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Monday, October 22nd. ValuEngine raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, October 18th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 16th. Finally, Citigroup set a $79.00 price target on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 16th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $71.56.

Shares of MRK opened at $72.87 on Monday. The company has a market capitalization of $189.81 billion, a PE ratio of 18.26, a PEG ratio of 2.15 and a beta of 0.81. 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 $73.49.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. The company had revenue of $10.79 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.87 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 34.20% and a net margin of 8.44%. Equities analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.33 earnings per share for the current year.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, October 25th that allows the company to buyback $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to buy up to 5.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are generally a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, VP Rita A. Karachun sold 5,000 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.01, for a total transaction of $325,050.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 279,851 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction on Tuesday, September 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.08, for a total value of $19,611,958.08. Following the sale, the chairman now directly owns 971,801 shares in the company, valued at approximately $68,103,814.08. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 701,269 shares of company stock worth $49,544,684 in the last ninety days. 0.32% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Clearwater Capital Advisors LLC bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 1st quarter worth $103,000. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 208.4% in the 1st quarter. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. now owns 1,983 shares of the company’s stock worth $108,000 after buying an additional 1,340 shares in the last quarter. Taylor Wealth Management Partners bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter worth $110,000. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 155.2% in the 2nd quarter. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV now owns 1,832 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after buying an additional 1,114 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Well Done LLC bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 1st quarter worth $115,000. 72.33% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Merck & Co., Inc.

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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