Wells Fargo slashes price target on Merck & Co. Inc. [MRK] – find out why.

Merck & Co. Inc. [NYSE: MRK] gained 2.03% or 2.13 points to close at $106.93 with a heavy trading volume of 7560105 shares. The company report on March 27, 2023 that KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) Plus Chemotherapy Significantly Improved Progression-Free Survival Compared to Chemotherapy Alone as First-Line Therapy for Advanced or Recurrent Endometrial Carcinoma, Regardless of Mismatch Repair Status.

KEYTRUDA plus chemotherapy reduced risk of disease progression or death by 46% in patients whose cancer was mismatch repair proficient (pMMR) and by 70% in patients whose cancer was mismatch repair deficient (dMMR), compared to chemotherapy alone.

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Results from Phase 3 NRG-GY018 trial to be presented at Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) 2023 Annual Meeting and published simultaneously in New England Journal of Medicine.

It opened the trading session at $106.08, the shares rose to $107.61 and dropped to $105.99, the range by which the price of stock traded the whole day. The daily chart for MRK points out that the company has recorded 23.22% gains over the past six months. However, it is still -32.91% lower than its most recent low trading price.

If we look at the average trading volume of 8.76M shares, MRK reached to a volume of 7560105 in the most recent trading day, which is why market watchdogs consider the stock to be active.

Here is what top equities market gurus are saying 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 $119.54 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.

Wells Fargo have made an estimate for Merck & Co. Inc. shares, keeping their opinion on the stock as Equal Weight, with their previous recommendation back on March 13, 2023. While these analysts kept the previous recommendation, Jefferies raised their target price to Buy. The new note on the price target was released on March 06, 2023, representing the official price target for Merck & Co. Inc. stock. Previously, the target price had yet another raise to $127, while Wolfe Research analysts kept a Outperform rating on MRK stock. On January 04, 2023, analysts increased their price target for MRK shares from 110 to 130.

The Average True Range (ATR) for Merck & Co. Inc. is set at 2.43, with the Price to Sales ratio for MRK stock in the period of the last 12 months amounting to 4.55. The Price to Book ratio for the last quarter was 5.89, with the Price to Cash per share for the same quarter was set at 5.22. Price to Free Cash Flow for MRK in the course of the last twelve months was 35.08 with Quick ratio for the last quarter at 1.20.

Trading performance analysis for MRK stock

Merck & Co. Inc. [MRK] gain into the green zone at the end of the last week, gaining into a positive trend and gaining by 1.02. With this latest performance, MRK shares dropped by -2.69% in over the last four-week period, additionally plugging by 23.22% over the last 6 months – not to mention a rise of 32.98% 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 50.32, with the RSI for the last a single of trading hit 52.99, and the three-weeks RSI is set at 49.60 for Merck & Co. Inc. [MRK]. The present Moving Average for the last 50 days of trading for this stock 107.51, while it was recorded at 105.18 for the last single week of trading, and 98.78 for the last 200 days.

Merck & Co. Inc. [MRK]: A deeper dive into fundamental analysis

Operating Margin for any stock indicates how profitable investing would be, and Merck & Co. Inc. [MRK] shares currently have an operating margin of +30.44 and a Gross Margin at +70.57. Merck & Co. Inc.’s Net Margin is presently recorded at +24.83.

Return on Total Capital for MRK is now 23.59, given the latest momentum, and Return on Invested Capital for the company is 19.91. Return on Equity for this stock inclined to 34.50, with Return on Assets sitting at 13.52. When it comes to the capital structure of this company, Merck & Co. Inc. [MRK] has a Total Debt to Total Equity ratio set at 69.55. Additionally, MRK Total Debt to Total Capital is recorded at 41.02, with Total Debt to Total Assets ending up at 29.30. Long-Term Debt to Equity for the company is recorded at 64.70, with the Long-Term Debt to Total Capital now at 38.16.

Reflecting on the efficiency of the workforce at the company, Merck & Co. Inc. [MRK] managed to generate an average of $210,420 per employee. Receivables Turnover for the company is 5.87 with a Total Asset Turnover recorded at a value of 0.54.Merck & Co. Inc.’s liquidity data is similarly interesting compelling, with a Quick Ratio of 1.20 and a Current Ratio set at 1.50.

Merck & Co. Inc. [MRK]: An earnings per share (EPS) analysis

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 10.47%.

An analysis of insider ownership at Merck & Co. Inc. [MRK]

There are presently around $201,965 million, or 76.60% of MRK stock, in the hands of institutional investors. The top three institutional holders of MRK stocks are: VANGUARD GROUP INC with ownership of 227,205,978, which is approximately 1.37% of the company’s market cap and around 0.10% of the total institutional ownership; BLACKROCK INC., holding 214,731,385 shares of the stock with an approximate value of $22.5 billion in MRK stocks shares; and STATE STREET CORP, currently with $12.36 billion in MRK stock with ownership of nearly 0.555% of the company’s market capitalization.

Positions in Merck & Co. Inc. stocks held by institutional investors increased at the end of Thursday and at the time of the Thursday reporting period, where 1,573 institutional holders increased their position in Merck & Co. Inc. [NYSE:MRK] by around 103,015,552 shares. Additionally, 1,438 investors decreased positions by around 69,931,424 shares, while 338 investors held positions by with 1,754,198,486 shares. The mentioned changes placed institutional holdings at 1,927,145,462 shares, according to the latest SEC report filing. MRK stock had 365 new institutional investments in for a total of 9,462,274 shares, while 93 institutional investors sold positions of 4,016,890 shares during the same period.


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