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Merck (MRK) Outpaces Stock Market Gains: What You Should Know

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Merck (MRK - Free Report) closed the most recent trading day at $76.34, moving +1.19% from the previous trading session. This change outpaced the S&P 500's 0.33% gain on the day. At the same time, the Dow added 0.44%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.01%.

Heading into today, shares of the pharmaceutical company had gained 5.58% over the past month, outpacing the Medical sector's gain of 3.15% and the S&P 500's gain of 0.89% in that time.

Investors will be hoping for strength from MRK as it approaches its next earnings release, which is expected to be February 1, 2019. In that report, analysts expect MRK to post earnings of $1.04 per share. This would mark year-over-year growth of 6.12%. Our most recent consensus estimate is calling for quarterly revenue of $11.05 billion, up 5.91% from the year-ago period.

For the full year, our Zacks Consensus Estimates are projecting earnings of $4.34 per share and revenue of $42.29 billion, which would represent changes of +9.05% and +5.41%, respectively, from the prior year.

Any recent changes to analyst estimates for MRK should also be noted by investors. These revisions typically reflect the latest short-term business trends, which can change frequently. With this in mind, we can consider positive estimate revisions a sign of optimism about the company's business outlook.

Research indicates that these estimate revisions are directly correlated with near-term share price momentum. To benefit from this, we have developed the Zacks Rank, a proprietary model which takes these estimate changes into account and provides an actionable rating system.

Ranging from #1 (Strong Buy) to #5 (Strong Sell), the Zacks Rank system has a proven, outside-audited track record of outperformance, with #1 stocks returning an average of +25% annually since 1988. Within the past 30 days, our consensus EPS projection has moved 0.02% higher. MRK is currently sporting a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).

Looking at its valuation, MRK is holding a Forward P/E ratio of 17.4. This valuation marks a premium compared to its industry's average Forward P/E of 14.47.

Also, we should mention that MRK has a PEG ratio of 2.05. This metric is used similarly to the famous P/E ratio, but the PEG ratio also takes into account the stock's expected earnings growth rate. The Large Cap Pharmaceuticals was holding an average PEG ratio of 2.01 at yesterday's closing price.

The Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry is part of the Medical sector. This group has a Zacks Industry Rank of 105, putting it in the top 41% of all 250+ industries.

The Zacks Industry Rank gauges the strength of our individual industry groups by measuring the average Zacks Rank of the individual stocks within the groups. Our research shows that the top 50% rated industries outperform the bottom half by a factor of 2 to 1.

Be sure to follow all of these stock-moving metrics, and many more, on Zacks.com.




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