Brokerages expect that Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) will report earnings per share of $0.94 for the current quarter, Zacks Investment Research reports. Five analysts have provided estimates for Merck & Co., Inc.’s earnings, with the highest EPS estimate coming in at $0.95 and the lowest estimate coming in at $0.92. Merck & Co., Inc. reported earnings per share of $0.89 during the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year-over-year growth rate of 5.6%. The company is expected to announce its next quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 1st.

On average, analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will report full-year earnings of $3.94 per share for the current fiscal year, with EPS estimates ranging from $3.88 to $3.97. For the next fiscal year, analysts anticipate that the business will post earnings of $4.08 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $3.92 to $4.33. Zacks Investment Research’s EPS averages are an average based on a survey of research analysts that cover Merck & Co., Inc..

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its earnings results on Friday, October 27th. The company reported $1.11 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.08. The business had revenue of $10.33 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.54 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 11.60% and a return on equity of 27.08%. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 2.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the company posted $1.07 earnings per share.

MRK has been the topic of several research reports. BMO Capital Markets reissued a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Friday, September 8th. Credit Suisse Group cut their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $75.00 to $74.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, August 30th. 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 price objective on the stock. Sanford C. Bernstein reissued a “buy” rating and set a $64.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Wednesday, November 15th. Finally, Jefferies Group lowered shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to an “underperform” rating in a report on Wednesday, November 1st. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and eleven have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $66.29.

Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) traded down $0.24 during trading hours on Monday, hitting $56.36. 7,934,596 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 9,840,351. The stock has a market capitalization of $153,710.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 54.72, a PEG ratio of 2.92 and a beta of 0.76. The company has a current ratio of 1.43, a quick ratio of 1.16 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57. Merck & Co., Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $53.63 and a fifty-two week high of $66.80.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, January 8th. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 15th will be paid a $0.48 dividend. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.41%. This is an increase from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.47. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, December 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 186.41%.

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

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, Director Thomas H. Glocer sold 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $56.20, for a total value of $281,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. 0.25% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of MRK. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.7% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 194,144,317 shares of the company’s stock valued at $12,442,709,000 after purchasing an additional 3,312,459 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.0% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 184,997,390 shares of the company’s stock valued at $11,856,484,000 after purchasing an additional 1,834,500 shares during the period. Franklin Resources Inc. lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.1% during the second quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 27,019,572 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,731,684,000 after purchasing an additional 801,033 shares during the period. Ameriprise Financial Inc. lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 7.5% during the third quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 23,515,877 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,505,621,000 after purchasing an additional 1,631,013 shares during the period. Finally, Boston Partners lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.8% during the third quarter. Boston Partners now owns 18,730,874 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,199,338,000 after purchasing an additional 145,744 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 73.63% 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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Earnings History and Estimates for Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

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