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Merck, P&G and Other Dividend Stocks You Wish You'd Bought in 2013

MRK Dividend Yield (TTM) Chart

Merck (MRK - Get Report) is a $169 billion global research-driven pharmaceutical company established in 1891.

Price to Book: 3.2

Forward Estimated Earnings Payout Percentage: 42%

Last week, the stock set a new 52-week high and is within bullish trend for the monthly, weekly and daily price charts. Trend followers love this type of price action and will stick with it until the trend changes.

Fundamentally, the company is an industry leader with an incredible revenue tailwind. The dividend remained at 38 cents per quarter from 2004 until 2011, when it was raised to 42 cents. Since then, the dividend has increased each year and is now 44 cents ($1.76 annualized) for a 3.1% yield.

Merck's pipeline of drugs include cancer (anti-PD1 immunotherapy for oncology) candidate MK-3475. Pfizer (PFE - Get Report), Amgen (AMGN) and Incyte (INCY) signed three separate collaboration agreements with Merck earlier this year to study MK-3475.

The company's merger with Schering-Plough is paying off and accretive. According to the CEO Ken Frazier, $2.5 billion in further cost savings by 2016 is expected.

Merck's international sales are growing at a double-digit rate and produce about half of the revenue, diversifying the revenue stream across every significant market.

Analysts as a whole like this stock. Currently, Merck has 11 buy recommendations out of 20 analysts covering the company, along with 9 holds, and no analysts recommend selling. Analysts overall have called this one correctly. In the last 12 months, the shares have increased 21%. The average analyst current target price for Merck is $56.78.

Almost zero desire by short sellers to move against this stock. Short interest hardly moves the needle, with only 1% of the float. MRK Payout Ratio (TTM) Chart


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