Shares of Merck were falling -0.2% to $56.69.
The quarterly dividend is in-line with the company's previous. The dividend is payable on July 8 to all shareholders of record as of the close of business on June 16. The ex-dividend date is set for June 12.
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TheStreet Ratings team rates MERCK & CO as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate MERCK & CO (MRK) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
- The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.56, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.23, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
- The gross profit margin for MERCK & CO is currently very high, coming in at 89.02%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 16.61% trails the industry average.
- The stock has not only risen over the past year, it has done so at a faster pace than the S&P 500, reflecting the earnings growth and other positive factors similar to those we have cited here. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
- MERCK & CO has improved earnings per share by 9.6% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, MERCK & CO reported lower earnings of $1.46 versus $2.00 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.46 versus $1.46).
- Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 5.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 3.8%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: MRK Ratings Report
Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.