Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note issued on Wednesday.
According to Zacks, “Merck’s new products like Keytruda and Zepatier should continue to contribute meaningfully to the top line. However, generic competition for several drugs will continue to be overhangs on the top line. Competitive and pricing pressures are also hurting sales of drugs like Isentress and Remicade. The diabetes franchise is also seeing slow sales since the past few quarters. Rising competition in the immuno-oncology market is also a significant concern. Meanwhile, Merck has also had its share of pipeline and regulatory setbacks. It recently dropped development of two of its HCV programs as the HCV market is becoming extremely crowded. Merck’s shares underperformed the industry this year so far. Estimates have remained stable ahead of the company’s Q3 earnings release. Merck has a positive record of earnings surprises in the recent quarters.”
Other equities research analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. BMO Capital Markets restated an “outperform” rating and set a $73.00 target price (down previously from $74.00) on shares of Merck & in a research note on Monday, July 24th. BidaskClub cut Merck & from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 19th. Citigroup Inc. set a $65.00 target price on Merck & and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 5th. Credit Suisse Group restated an “outperform” rating and set a $74.00 target price (down previously from $75.00) on shares of Merck & in a research note on Tuesday, September 5th. Finally, UBS AG boosted their target price on Merck & from $70.00 to $72.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, July 31st. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the company. Merck & has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $70.13.
Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last posted its earnings results on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.14. The firm had revenue of $9.93 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.75 billion. Merck & had a return on equity of 26.02% and a net margin of 17.14%. The firm’s revenue was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.93 earnings per share.
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Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in MRK. Granite Investment Advisors LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & by 82.8% in the 1st quarter. Granite Investment Advisors LLC now owns 187,810 shares of the company’s stock worth $11,933,000 after purchasing an additional 85,090 shares during the last quarter. Bollard Group LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & by 6.3% in the 1st quarter. Bollard Group LLC now owns 86,237 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,479,000 after purchasing an additional 5,110 shares during the last quarter. Boys Arnold & Co. Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & by 1.0% in the 1st quarter. Boys Arnold & Co. Inc. now owns 62,180 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,951,000 after purchasing an additional 605 shares during the last quarter. Columbus Circle Investors lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & by 529.0% in the 1st quarter. Columbus Circle Investors now owns 1,345,334 shares of the company’s stock worth $85,483,000 after purchasing an additional 1,131,452 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Hengehold Capital Management LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & by 2.8% in the 1st quarter. Hengehold Capital Management LLC now owns 30,877 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,962,000 after purchasing an additional 850 shares during the last quarter. 72.91% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
About Merck &
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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