Jefferies Group Research Analysts Lift Earnings Estimates for Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) – Investment analysts at Jefferies Group raised their FY2017 earnings per share (EPS) estimates for shares of Merck & Co. in a report issued on Friday. Jefferies Group analyst J. Holford now expects that the company will post earnings of $3.86 per share for the year, up from their prior forecast of $3.84. Jefferies Group currently has a “Underperform” rating and a $51.00 target price on the stock. Jefferies Group also issued estimates for Merck & Co.’s FY2018 earnings at $4.10 EPS.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, May 2nd. The company reported $0.88 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.83 by $0.05. The business had revenue of $9.43 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.25 billion. Merck & Co. had a net margin of 14.30% and a return on equity of 24.08%. The company’s revenue was up 1.3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.89 EPS.

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Earnings History and Estimates for Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK)

Several other equities analysts have also recently weighed in on MRK. Vetr raised Merck & Co. from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $59.51 target price on the stock in a research note on Thursday, January 19th. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and set a $70.00 target price (down previously from $72.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Wednesday, January 25th. Sanford C. Bernstein reiterated a “market perform” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Friday, February 24th. Leerink Swann reiterated a “market perform” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Monday, March 20th. Finally, HSBC Holdings plc lowered Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “reduce” rating in a report on Friday, April 7th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating, eleven have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co. presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $68.61.

Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded down 0.7299% on Monday, hitting $63.3244. 587,113 shares of the stock traded hands. The company’s 50 day moving average is $63.10 and its 200 day moving average is $62.67. Merck & Co. has a one year low of $54.08 and a one year high of $66.80. The stock has a market cap of $173.86 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 40.3597 and a beta of 0.79.

In other Merck & Co. news, Director C Robert Kidder sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, May 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $63.54, for a total value of $317,700.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 14,317 shares in the company, valued at $909,702.18. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 53,850 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, April 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $63.48, for a total value of $3,418,398.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Blume Capital Management Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 14.0% in the third quarter. Blume Capital Management Inc. now owns 1,710 shares of the company’s stock worth $107,000 after buying an additional 210 shares during the period. Intellectus Partners LLC bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co. during the fourth quarter worth $103,000. Vigilant Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 16.7% in the first quarter. Vigilant Capital Management LLC now owns 1,746 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after buying an additional 250 shares during the period. Harbour Capital Advisors LLC bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co. during the first quarter worth $127,000. Finally, Balentine LLC boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 2.1% in the first quarter. Balentine LLC now owns 2,087 shares of the company’s stock worth $133,000 after buying an additional 43 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 74.10% of the company’s stock.

Merck & Co. 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.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:MRK

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