A look at Merck
Headquartered in New Jersey, Merck (MRK) is one of the oldest and largest pharmaceutical companies by revenue. Merck does business as Merck Sharp & Dohme outside of US and Canadian markets. Merck’s portfolio includes products for human health and animal health.
MRK stock rose ~0.6% in 3Q17 and has risen ~7.7% YTD (year-to-date) as of October 16.
Wall Street analysts estimate that MRK stock has the potential to return ~9.8% over the next 12 months. These recommendations show a 12-month target price of $69.60 per share, compared with $63.39 on October 13.
Of the 21 analysts tracking MRK stock, 13 recommend a “buy,” while seven recommend a “hold,” and one recommends a “sell.” The consensus rating for the stock stands at 2.33, which represents a moderate “buy” for long-term growth investors.
Analysts’ revenue estimates
Merck’s revenues have been driven by the strong sales of Gardasil, Keytruda, and Proquad-Varivax in its human health portfolio, in addition to a few products in its animal health portfolio.
Wall Street analysts estimate that MRK will see revenues of ~$10.5 billion in 3Q17, which would be nearly flat compared with 3Q16, and earnings per share of $1.03.
To divest company-specific risks, investors can consider ETFs like the VanEck Vectors Pharmaceutical ETF (PPH), which has 5.0% of its total assets in Merck (MRK). PPH also has 5.6% in Novo Nordisk (NVO), 6.2% in AbbVie. (ABBV), and 4.7% in AstraZeneca (AZN).