Morgan Stanley Upgrades Merck & Co. (MRK) to “Overweight”

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) was upgraded by analysts at Morgan Stanley from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating in a report released on Tuesday, Marketbeat reports. The brokerage currently has a $63.00 target price on the stock, up from their previous target price of $59.80. Morgan Stanley’s target price would suggest a potential upside of 6.92% from the company’s previous close.

Other equities analysts have also issued reports about the company. Leerink Swann cut their target price on Merck & Co. from $67.00 to $66.00 and set a “market perform” rating on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, February 14th. Credit Suisse Group cut their target price on Merck & Co. from $67.00 to $66.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a research report on Monday, February 5th. ValuEngine lowered Merck & Co. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, February 2nd. BMO Capital Markets set a $65.00 target price on Merck & Co. and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Tuesday, February 13th. Finally, Jefferies Group set a $56.00 target price on Merck & Co. and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, April 13th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and fifteen have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $66.83.

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Merck & Co. stock opened at $58.92 on Tuesday. The company has a market cap of $159,803.17, a P/E ratio of 14.89, a P/E/G ratio of 2.48 and a beta of 0.78. 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. has a one year low of $52.83 and a one year high of $66.41.



Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.94 by $0.04. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 28.61% and a net margin of 6.40%. The company had revenue of $10.43 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.48 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.89 EPS. Merck & Co.’s quarterly revenue was up 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts expect that Merck & Co. will post 4.16 EPS for the current year.

In related news, Director Wendell P. Weeks sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.57, for a total transaction of $267,850.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 5,100 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $273,207. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 24,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, April 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $58.00, for a total value of $1,392,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Honeywell International Inc. grew its stake in Merck & Co. by 18.8% during the 3rd quarter. Honeywell International Inc. now owns 633,700 shares of the company’s stock worth $40,576,000 after buying an additional 100,500 shares during the last quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. grew its stake in Merck & Co. by 18.3% during the 3rd 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 grew its stake in Merck & Co. by 19.8% during the 4th 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. Ascension Asset Management LLC bought a new position in Merck & Co. during the 4th quarter worth $644,000. Finally, Mork Capital Management LLC bought a new position in Merck & Co. during the 4th quarter worth $990,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 74.60% of the company’s stock.

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About Merck & Co.

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates in four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, asthma, nasal allergy symptoms, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, fungal, intra-abdominal infections, hypertension, arthritis and pain, inflammatory, osteoporosis, and fertility diseases.

Analyst Recommendations for Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK)

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