Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK – Get Rating) declared a quarterly dividend on Tuesday, May 23rd, Wall Street Journal reports. Investors of record on Thursday, June 15th will be given a dividend of 0.73 per share on Monday, July 10th. This represents a $2.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.57%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, June 14th.
Merck & Co., Inc. has increased its dividend payment by an average of 7.4% per year over the last three years and has increased its dividend annually for the last 12 consecutive years. Merck & Co., Inc. has a dividend payout ratio of 34.3% indicating that its dividend is sufficiently covered by earnings. Equities research analysts expect Merck & Co., Inc. to earn $8.46 per share next year, which means the company should continue to be able to cover its $2.92 annual dividend with an expected future payout ratio of 34.5%.
Merck & Co., Inc. Price Performance
Shares of NYSE MRK opened at $113.60 on Thursday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.60, a current ratio of 1.44 and a quick ratio of 1.19. The business has a 50-day moving average of $112.68 and a 200-day moving average of $109.75. The stock has a market capitalization of $288.25 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.19, a PEG ratio of 1.97 and a beta of 0.34. Merck & Co., Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $83.05 and a fifty-two week high of $119.65.
Insider Buying and Selling
In other news, CEO Robert M. Davis sold 143,329 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, April 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $114.93, for a total transaction of $16,472,801.97. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 271,817 shares in the company, valued at $31,239,927.81. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, insider Sanat Chattopadhyay sold 134,055 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction dated Thursday, April 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $115.07, for a total transaction of $15,425,708.85. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, CEO Robert M. Davis sold 143,329 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, April 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $114.93, for a total value of $16,472,801.97. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 271,817 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $31,239,927.81. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 488,258 shares of company stock valued at $56,481,018 over the last ninety days. 0.20% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
Institutional Trading of Merck & Co., Inc.
Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Talisman Wealth Advisors LLC purchased a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 4th quarter worth approximately $295,000. Ambassador Advisors LLC bought a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the 1st quarter valued at $266,000. NBW Capital LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter valued at $254,000. Strategic Investment Solutions Inc. IL bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter worth $241,000. Finally, Sentinus LLC purchased a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 1st quarter worth about $239,000. Institutional investors own 72.89% of the company’s stock.
Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades
MRK has been the subject of several research analyst reports. Credit Suisse Group lifted their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $125.00 to $126.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Tuesday, March 7th. Societe Generale lowered Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, March 28th. Berenberg Bank lifted their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $125.00 to $130.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, March 10th. Morgan Stanley lowered their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $100.00 to $99.00 and set an “equal weight” rating on the stock in a research report on Friday, February 3rd. Finally, Guggenheim boosted their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $123.00 to $124.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, April 11th. Seven analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, sixteen have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. According to MarketBeat.com, the stock has an average rating of “Moderate Buy” and an average price target of $120.75.
Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile
Merck & Co, Inc is a health care company, which engages in the provision of health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health, and consumer care products. It operates through the following segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, and Other. The Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products.
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