Merck & Co., Inc, (MRK - Free Report) recently announced a 2.2% hike in its quarterly dividend. The company will now pay shareholders a quarterly dividend of 47 cents compared with the previous payout of 46 cents. Based on the closing price of $61.64 on Nov 23, the increased payout translates to a yield of 3%.
The new dividend will be paid on Jan 9, 2017, to stockholders on record at the close of business on Dec 15, 2016.
The last time the company had raised its dividend (from $0.45 to $0.46 per common share) was in Nov 2015 by a similar percentage.
Meanwhile, Merck announced this month that its hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment Zepatier will be launched in the European markets in late Nov 2016. It also revealed positive data from three phase II studies on its pipeline candidate, MK-3682, in combination with grazoprevir and ruzasvir1, for the treatment of chronic HCV infection.
Merck currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
MERCK & CO INC Price
Stocks to Consider
Some better-ranked stocks in the healthcare sector include Incyte Corporation (INCY - Free Report) , Anika Therapeutics (ANIK - Free Report) and Arbutus Biopharma Corporation (ABUS - Free Report) . Anika sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while both Incyte and Arbutus carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Incyte’s earnings estimates increased from 22 cents to 68 cents for 2016 and from $1.46 to $1.68 for 2017 over the last 30 days. The company posted a positive average beat of 431.43% over the last four quarters.
Anika’s earnings estimates increased from $1.96 to $2.06 for 2016 and from $2.03 to $2.09 for 2017 over the last 30 days. The company posted a positive surprise in the four trailing quarters with an average beat of 33.14%. Its share price has gained 22.5% year to date.
Arbutus’s loss estimates narrowed from $2.15 to $1.74 for 2016 and from $1.96 to $1.51 for 2017 over the last 30 days. The company posted positive surprises thrice in the four trailing quarters with an average beat of 59.31%.
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