Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) to Repurchase $10.00 billion in Stock

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a share repurchase plan, which allows the company to buyback $10.00 billion in shares on Thursday, October 25th. This buyback authorization allows the company to repurchase up to 5.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are usually a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

MRK opened at $70.40 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a quick ratio of 1.04 and a current ratio of 1.33. Merck & Co., Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $52.83 and a fifty-two week high of $73.49. The stock has a market cap of $188.63 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.69, a PEG ratio of 2.15 and a beta of 0.81.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.14 by $0.05. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 8.44% and a return on equity of 34.20%. The company had revenue of $10.79 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.87 billion. Equities research analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.3 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Investors of record on Monday, December 17th will be given a dividend of $0.55 per share. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.13%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, December 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 48.24%.

A number of research analysts have recently issued reports on MRK shares. Citigroup set a $79.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 16th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $79.00 price objective for the company in a report on Wednesday, September 26th. Guggenheim started coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Monday, October 8th. They set a “buy” rating for the company. Morgan Stanley set a $74.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, August 23rd. Finally, SunTrust Banks reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $77.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Thursday, August 16th. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and sixteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $70.99.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 279,850 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, October 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.07, for a total value of $20,168,789.50. Following the sale, the chairman now owns 971,800 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $70,037,626. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. acquired 666,666 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, October 1st. The stock was bought at an average cost of $15.00 per share, for a total transaction of $9,999,990.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders have sold 929,360 shares of company stock worth $64,370,599 over the last three months. 0.32% of the stock is owned by insiders.

About Merck & Co., Inc.

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.

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