Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) Sets New 12-Month High at $83.91

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Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) hit a new 52-week high during trading on Wednesday . The stock traded as high as $83.91 and last traded at $83.64, with a volume of 515278 shares trading hands. The stock had previously closed at $82.98.

MRK has been the topic of a number of research reports. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, May 3rd. UBS Group lifted their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $87.00 to $88.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, May 2nd. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $93.00 price target on the stock in a report on Monday, April 1st. Cantor Fitzgerald reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $95.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Friday, March 29th. Finally, Argus lifted their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. to $95.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, February 20th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $83.08.

The company has a current ratio of 1.37, a quick ratio of 1.06 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82. The firm has a market capitalization of $213.61 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.35, a PEG ratio of 1.96 and a beta of 0.55.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, April 30th. The company reported $1.22 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.05 by $0.17. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 19.50% and a return on equity of 39.85%. The firm had revenue of $10.82 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.45 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $1.05 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 7.8% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, equities analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.72 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 8th. Stockholders of record on Monday, June 17th will be issued a $0.55 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, June 14th. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.62%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 50.69%.

In other news, EVP Frank Clyburn sold 25,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $77.73, for a total value of $1,943,250.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 92,604 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,198,108.92. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. bought 4,121,683 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction dated Monday, April 8th. The stock was acquired at an average price of $16.00 per share, for a total transaction of $65,946,928.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 445,308 shares of company stock worth $36,421,320. Insiders own 0.27% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 17,936.7% during the 4th quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 53,150,490 shares of the company’s stock worth $696,000 after purchasing an additional 52,855,811 shares during the period. Norges Bank purchased a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter worth about $2,166,688,000. Jennison Associates LLC boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 323.1% during the 4th quarter. Jennison Associates LLC now owns 15,777,286 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,205,542,000 after purchasing an additional 12,048,406 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 5.6% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 194,589,541 shares of the company’s stock worth $14,868,587,000 after purchasing an additional 10,315,510 shares during the period. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 11.2% during the 1st quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 37,856,313 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,143,842,000 after purchasing an additional 3,823,947 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 75.17% of the company’s stock.

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About Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, intra-abdominal, fungal infection, insomnia, and inflammatory diseases.

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