Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Getting Somewhat Positive Media Coverage, Study Shows

News headlines about Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) have been trending somewhat positive this week, Accern Sentiment Analysis reports. The research firm ranks the sentiment of press coverage by monitoring more than 20 million blog and news sources in real-time. Accern ranks coverage of publicly-traded companies on a scale of negative one to one, with scores nearest to one being the most favorable. Merck & Co., Inc. earned a news sentiment score of 0.16 on Accern’s scale. Accern also gave press coverage about the company an impact score of 46.2333975693235 out of 100, indicating that recent press coverage is somewhat unlikely to have an effect on the stock’s share price in the next few days.

Here are some of the media headlines that may have impacted Accern’s rankings:

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) traded up $0.22 during trading on Monday, reaching $55.36. The company had a trading volume of 10,752,260 shares, compared to its average volume of 12,970,000. The stock has a market capitalization of $149,260.00, a PE ratio of 30.42, a PEG ratio of 2.27 and a beta of 0.81. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.62, a quick ratio of 1.06 and a current ratio of 1.33. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12 month low of $53.12 and a 12 month high of $66.41.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.94 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $10.43 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.48 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 17.17% and a net margin of 14.97%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.89 earnings per share. equities research analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.16 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 6th. Investors of record on Thursday, March 15th will be given a dividend of $0.48 per share. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.47%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 105.49%.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its board has approved a share repurchase plan on Tuesday, November 28th that permits the company to buyback $10.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization permits the company to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are usually an indication that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

Several equities research analysts have commented on MRK shares. BMO Capital Markets set a $68.00 target price on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, December 13th. ValuEngine raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 10th. Bank of America started coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Tuesday, November 28th. They set a “buy” rating and a $64.00 price target on the stock. Sanford C. Bernstein reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $64.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Wednesday, November 15th. Finally, Deutsche Bank lowered their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $62.00 to $59.00 and set a “hold” rating on the stock in a report on Friday, November 24th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and twelve have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $66.41.

In related news, EVP Michael J. Holston sold 12,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total transaction of $770,375.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, 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 owns 101,484 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,254,458.92. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 82,500 shares of company stock valued at $5,026,025. 0.25% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

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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.

Insider Buying and Selling by Quarter for Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

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