Bernstein lifts Merck & Co. Inc. [MRK] price estimate. Who else is bullish?

Merck & Co. Inc. [NYSE: MRK] plunged by -$0.24 during the normal trading session on Monday and reaching a high of $79.33 during the day while it closed the day at $79.29. The company report on December 17, 2020 that FDA Grants Priority Review to Merck’s Supplemental Biologics License Application for KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) Plus Chemotherapy as First-Line Treatment for Locally Advanced Unresectable or Metastatic Esophageal and Gastroesophageal Junction Cancer.

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Application Based on Overall Survival and Progression-Free Survival Data Comparing KEYTRUDA Plus Chemotherapy to Chemotherapy Alone From Pivotal Phase 3 KEYNOTE-590 Trial.

Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted and granted priority review for a new supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) for KEYTRUDA, Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, in combination with platinum and fluoropyrimidine based chemotherapy for the first-line treatment of patients with locally advanced unresectable or metastatic carcinoma of the esophagus and gastroesophageal junction (GEJ). This sBLA is based on data from the pivotal Phase 3 KEYNOTE-590 trial, in which KEYTRUDA plus chemotherapy demonstrated significant improvements in the primary endpoints – overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) – versus chemotherapy in these patients regardless of PD-L1 expression status and tumor histology. These data were presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Virtual Congress 2020. The FDA has set a Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), or target action, date of April 13, 2021.

Merck & Co. Inc. stock has also loss -1.28% of its value over the past 7 days. However, MRK stock has declined by -4.40% in the 3 months of the year. Over the past six months meanwhile, it has gained 2.81% and lost -12.82% year-on date.

The market cap for MRK stock reached $201.34 billion, with 2.53 billion shares outstanding and 2.53 billion shares in the current float. Compared to the average trading volume of 8.79M shares, MRK reached a trading volume of 10464321 in the most recent trading day, which is why market watchdogs consider the stock to be active.

Here’s what leading stock market gurus have to say about Merck & Co. Inc. [MRK]:

Based on careful and fact-backed analyses by Wall Street experts, the current consensus on the target price for MRK shares is $95.89 per share. Analysis on target price and performance of stocks is usually carefully studied by market experts, and the current Wall Street consensus on MRK stock is a recommendation set at 2.00. This rating represents a strong Buy recommendation, on the scale from 1 to 5, where 5 would mean strong sell, 4 represents Sell, 3 is Hold, and 2 indicates Buy.

Bernstein have made an estimate for Merck & Co. Inc. shares, keeping their opinion on the stock as Outperform, with their previous recommendation back on November 10, 2020. While these analysts kept the previous recommendation, Berenberg raised their target price to Hold. The new note on the price target was released on September 29, 2020, representing the official price target for Merck & Co. Inc. stock. Previously, the target price had yet another raise from $91 to $105, while Goldman kept a Buy rating on MRK stock.

The Average True Range (ATR) for Merck & Co. Inc. is set at 1.47, with the Price to Sales ratio for MRK stock in the period of the last 12 months amounting to 4.25. The Price to Book ratio for the last quarter was 6.87, with the Price to Cash per share for the same quarter was set at 2.90. Price to Free Cash Flow for MRK in the course of the last twelve months was 306.92 with Quick ratio for the last quarter at 1.00.

MRK stock trade performance evaluation

Merck & Co. Inc. [MRK] fell into the red zone at the end of the last week, falling into a negative trend and dropping by -1.28. With this latest performance, MRK shares dropped by -1.37% in over the last four-week period, additionally plugging by 2.81% over the last 6 months – not to mention a drop of -13.42% in the past year of trading.

Overbought and oversold stocks can be easily traced with the Relative Strength Index (RSI), where an RSI result of over 70 would be overbought, and any rate below 30 would indicate oversold conditions. An RSI rate of 50 would represent a neutral market momentum. The current RSI for MRK stock in for the last two-week period is set at 39.78, with the RSI for the last a single of trading hit 32.01, and the three-weeks RSI is set at 43.53 for Merck & Co. Inc. [MRK]. The present Moving Average for the last 50 days of trading for this stock 80.04, while it was recorded at 79.79 for the last single week of trading, and 79.82 for the last 200 days.

Merck & Co. Inc. [MRK]: An insightful look at the core fundamentals

Operating Margin for any stock indicates how profitable investing would be, and Merck & Co. Inc. [MRK] shares currently have an operating margin of +28.62 and a Gross Margin at +70.25. Merck & Co. Inc.’s Net Margin is presently recorded at +21.13.

Return on Total Capital for MRK is now 25.31, given the latest momentum, and Return on Invested Capital for the company is 20.52. Return on Equity for this stock inclined to 37.42, with Return on Assets sitting at 11.79. When it comes to the capital structure of this company, Merck & Co. Inc. [MRK] has a Total Debt to Total Equity ratio set at 105.57. Additionally, MRK Total Debt to Total Capital is recorded at 51.35, with Total Debt to Total Assets ending up at 32.41. Long-Term Debt to Equity for the company is recorded at 90.72, with the Long-Term Debt to Total Capital now at 44.13.

Reflecting on the efficiency of the workforce at the company, Merck & Co. Inc. [MRK] managed to generate an average of $138,634 per employee. Receivables Turnover for the company is 6.73 with a Total Asset Turnover recorded at a value of 0.56.Merck & Co. Inc.’s liquidity data is similarly interesting compelling, with a Quick Ratio of 1.00 and a Current Ratio set at 1.30.

Earnings per share (EPS) analysis for Merck & Co. Inc. [MRK] stock

With the latest financial reports released by the company, Merck & Co. Inc. posted 1.16/share EPS, while the average EPS was predicted by analysts to be reported at 1.15/share. When compared, the two values demonstrate that the company surpassed the estimates by a Surprise Factor of 0.90%. The progress of the company may be observed through the prism of EPS growth rate, while Wall Street analysts are focusing on predicting the 5-year EPS growth rate for MRK. When it comes to the mentioned value, analysts are expecting to see the 5-year EPS growth rate for Merck & Co. Inc. go to 7.28%.

Merck & Co. Inc. [MRK]: Insider Ownership positions

There are presently around $149,291 million, or 76.00% of MRK stock, in the hands of institutional investors. The top three institutional holders of MRK stocks are: VANGUARD GROUP INC with ownership of 209,865,924, which is approximately -1.372% of the company’s market cap and around 0.08% of the total institutional ownership; BLACKROCK INC., holding 196,888,895 shares of the stock with an approximate value of $15.61 billion in MRK stocks shares; and STATE STREET CORP, currently with $9.28 billion in MRK stock with ownership of nearly -1.482% of the company’s market capitalization.

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Positions in Merck & Co. Inc. stocks held by institutional investors increased at the end of October and at the time of the October reporting period, where 1,299 institutional holders increased their position in Merck & Co. Inc. [NYSE:MRK] by around 78,938,163 shares. Additionally, 1,045 investors decreased positions by around 92,055,598 shares, while 303 investors held positions by with 1,711,854,469 shares. The mentioned changes placed institutional holdings at 1,882,848,230 shares, according to the latest SEC report filing. MRK stock had 158 new institutional investments in for a total of 29,460,236 shares, while 80 institutional investors sold positions of 6,519,573 shares during the same period.

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