Investors Buy Merck & Company, Inc. (MRK) on Weakness

Traders bought shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) on weakness during trading hours on Wednesday. $188.00 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $102.00 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $86.00 million into the stock. Of all equities tracked, Merck & had the 6th highest net in-flow for the day. Merck & traded down ($0.68) for the day and closed at $63.78

A number of research analysts have issued reports on MRK shares. UBS AG boosted their target price on Merck & from $70.00 to $72.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, July 31st. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $70.00 price target on Merck & and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Saturday, July 29th. BMO Capital Markets restated a “buy” rating and issued a $74.00 price target on shares of Merck & in a report on Tuesday, June 27th. Credit Suisse Group restated a “buy” rating on shares of Merck & in a report on Tuesday, June 13th. Finally, BidaskClub upgraded Merck & from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, August 1st. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $69.69.

The company has a market cap of $173.95 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 34.53 and a beta of 0.80. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $64.42 and a 200-day moving average of $63.70.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.87 by $0.14. The business had revenue of $9.93 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.75 billion. Merck & had a return on equity of 26.02% and a net margin of 17.14%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.93 EPS. Equities research analysts expect that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.87 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 6th. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 15th were paid a dividend of $0.47 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was 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 added to or reduced their stakes in MRK. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in Merck & by 1.7% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 194,144,317 shares of the company’s stock valued at $12,442,709,000 after purchasing an additional 3,312,459 shares during the last quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership boosted its stake in Merck & by 71.5% during the 2nd quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership now owns 6,281,855 shares of the company’s stock valued at $402,604,000 after purchasing an additional 2,618,435 shares during the last quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. boosted its stake in Merck & by 40.4% during the 2nd quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 8,012,726 shares of the company’s stock valued at $513,535,000 after purchasing an additional 2,304,142 shares during the last quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board boosted its stake in Merck & by 70.4% during the 1st quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 5,568,791 shares of the company’s stock valued at $353,841,000 after purchasing an additional 2,300,200 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC boosted its stake in Merck & by 36.3% during the 2nd quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 7,766,906 shares of the company’s stock valued at $497,774,000 after purchasing an additional 2,070,487 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.91% of the company’s stock.

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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.

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