MRK Earnings Per Share Growth Chart MRK Earnings Per Share Growth data by YCharts

Merck (MRK)

Background: Merck is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company. The company was founded in 1891 and is headquartered in Whitehouse Station, N.J. Merck trades an average of 9.1 million shares per day with a market cap of $131.8 billion.

52-Week Range: $30.54 to $45.17

Yield: 3.88%

Merck makes the list because the numbers and the chart qualify it for inclusion. Merck is the only one here that I wouldn't purchase at this time. Obamacare is clearly going to be an unmitigated nuclear meltdown of a disaster to the health-care industry, employment and the economy.

It's not just Obamacare, but what changes will likely happen after everyone figures out it has the same impact as Medicare without the Ponzi scheme of lots of workers paying for a few users (up to about now anyway).

Big changes in coverage and or much higher taxes will need to happen to keep the program afloat. Don't expect it to take long for the market (probably longer for Washington) to figure out there is no Santa handing out free health care. It's too bad, too, as Merck would be a top pick for me otherwise.

The market isn't pricing in any growth for Merck either. The price-to-earnings ratio is 11.4, based on estimated earnings of $3.81 per share this year. Shareholders receive $1.68 annually in dividend payments. Over the last five years, the dividend has grown by an average of 0.5% per year.

Unsurprisingly at this price, short-sellers are not interested in betting against this one. Short interest is a nonfactor at a rate of 0.9% of the float. Merck is a cash cow selling at a low earnings multiple I would not want to short it either. Just keep in mind there is a reason why the earnings multiple is the lowest one listed here.

MRK Dividend Yield Chart MRK Dividend Yield data by YCharts

I use Zacks.com, WSJ.com, Tradestation and Reuters for my data. PE is generally adjusted PE based on an average number of shares.

At the time of publication the author does not hold a position in any stock mentioned.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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