A number of other equities research analysts have also weighed in on the stock. Bank of America initiated coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Tuesday, November 28th. They set a buy rating and a $64.00 target price on the stock. SunTrust Banks raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a hold rating to a buy rating and boosted their target price for the stock from $54.00 to $72.00 in a report on Tuesday, January 16th. Sanford C. Bernstein reissued a buy rating and set a $64.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Wednesday, November 15th. ValuEngine raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, January 10th. Finally, DZ Bank raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Tuesday, February 13th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co., Inc. currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $66.41.
Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE MRK) opened at $55.14 on Thursday. The stock has a market cap of $148,667.91, a P/E ratio of 13.85, a P/E/G ratio of 2.27 and a beta of 0.81. The company has a current ratio of 1.33, a quick ratio of 1.06 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.62. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $53.12 and a 1-year high of $66.41.
Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its board has approved a share buyback plan on Tuesday, November 28th that permits the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are generally an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 6th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, March 15th will be paid a $0.48 dividend. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.48%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, March 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 206.45%.
In other news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total value of $3,697,800.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 101,484 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,254,458.92. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Wendell P. Weeks sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $53.57, for a total transaction of $267,850.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 5,100 shares in the company, valued at $273,207. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders sold 82,500 shares of company stock worth $5,026,025. Insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.
Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Honeywell International Inc. lifted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.8% during the 3rd quarter. Honeywell International Inc. now owns 633,700 shares of the company’s stock valued at $40,576,000 after acquiring an additional 100,500 shares during the period. Hanson McClain Inc. raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 65.0% during the second quarter. Hanson McClain Inc. now owns 7,662 shares of the company’s stock worth $491,000 after buying an additional 3,019 shares during the last quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.3% during the third quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 524,481 shares of the company’s stock worth $33,582,000 after buying an additional 81,290 shares during the last quarter. Train Babcock Advisors LLC raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 19.8% during the fourth quarter. Train Babcock Advisors LLC now owns 10,810 shares of the company’s stock worth $609,000 after buying an additional 1,785 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Signature Financial Management Inc. raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 13.1% during the third quarter. Signature Financial Management Inc. now owns 13,432 shares of the company’s stock worth $779,000 after buying an additional 1,555 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 74.79% of the company’s stock.
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Merck & Co., Inc. 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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