Merck (MRK - Free Report) closed at $83.21 in the latest trading session, marking a -0.11% move from the prior day. This change lagged the S&P 500's daily of 0%. At the same time, the Dow lost 0.3%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.25%.
Heading into today, shares of the pharmaceutical company had gained 2.37% over the past month, outpacing the Medical sector's loss of 0.21% and the S&P 500's gain of 2.36% in that time.
MRK will be looking to display strength as it nears its next earnings release, which is expected to be April 30, 2019. In that report, analysts expect MRK to post earnings of $1.05 per share. This would mark no growth from the prior-year quarter. Our most recent consensus estimate is calling for quarterly revenue of $10.36 billion, up 3.25% from the year-ago period.
For the full year, our Zacks Consensus Estimates are projecting earnings of $4.65 per share and revenue of $44.33 billion, which would represent changes of +7.14% and +4.8%, respectively, from the prior year.
Any recent changes to analyst estimates for MRK should also be noted by investors. These revisions help to show the ever-changing nature of near-term business trends. With this in mind, we can consider positive estimate revisions a sign of optimism about the company's business outlook.
Our research shows that these estimate changes are directly correlated with near-term stock prices. We developed the Zacks Rank to capitalize on this phenomenon. Our system takes these estimate changes into account and delivers a clear, actionable rating model.
The Zacks Rank system, which ranges from #1 (Strong Buy) to #5 (Strong Sell), has an impressive outside-audited track record of outperformance, with #1 stocks generating an average annual return of +25% since 1988. The Zacks Consensus EPS estimate has moved 0.26% higher within the past month. MRK is currently a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
In terms of valuation, MRK is currently trading at a Forward P/E ratio of 17.91. For comparison, its industry has an average Forward P/E of 15.46, which means MRK is trading at a premium to the group.
Meanwhile, MRK's PEG ratio is currently 2.04. The PEG ratio is similar to the widely-used P/E ratio, but this metric also takes the company's expected earnings growth rate into account. The Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry currently had an average PEG ratio of 2.17 as of yesterday's close.
The Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry is part of the Medical sector. This industry currently has a Zacks Industry Rank of 108, which puts it in the top 43% of all 250+ industries.
The Zacks Industry Rank gauges the strength of our 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.
To follow MRK in the coming trading sessions, be sure to utilize Zacks.com.