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What Are Analysts Recommending for Merck after Q4 2018 Results?

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Stock price movements

On February 1, Merck (MRK) closed at $76.45, 2.67% higher than its previous closing price, 44.71% higher than its 52-week low of $52.83, and 4.66% below its 52-week high of $80.19. Its market capitalization was $199.40 billion, and its trailing-12-month and forward PE ratios are 34.67x and 16.31x, respectively.

The trailing-12-month PE ratios of peers Pfizer (PFE), Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) are 17.88x, 16.31x, and 23.92x, respectively. The forward PE ratio of these companies is 14.09x, 11.29x, and 14.79x, respectively. Merck is thus trading at a higher trailing PE ratio, but a lower forward PE ratio as compared to most of these peers.

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Merck has returned 4.80% in the last week, 1.14% in the last month, 4.91% in the last quarter, 16.74% in the last half year, 29.03% in the last year, and 0.05% YTD. Meanwhile, the broader healthcare market represented by the Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLV) has returned 2.06% in the last week, 6.51% in the last month, 2.45% in the last quarter, 2.02% in the last half year, 3.01% in the last year, and 4.90% YTD. XLV has significantly outperformed Merck in 2019 YTD.

Analysts’ recommendations and target price for Merck

The 12-month consensus recommendation for Merck and peers Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Johnson & Johnson is a “buy.” Of the 15 analysts covering Merck, six recommend a “strong buy,” seven recommend a “buy,” and two recommend a “hold.” Their 12-month target price for Merck is $82.45, 7.85% higher than its last closing price on February 1. The highest target price estimate for the company is $95, and the lowest is $63.

Next, we’ll look at the revenue growth trajectory of Merck in fiscal 2018.

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