March 13, 2013 at 09:59 AM EDT
Bank of America Reaffirms “Buy” Rating on Merck (MRK)

Bank of America reported on Wednesday that it has maintained a “Buy” rating on healthcare company, Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK).

The firm has reiterated a “Buy” rating and $47 price target on MRK. This price target suggests a 5% increase to the stock’s current price of $44.65.

An analyst from the firm commented, “MRK announced that the Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) has completed its planned review of the IMPROVE-IT trial and recommended the study continue. We view this as an incremental positive for MRK and today’s news will potentially remove an overhang on the stock, as some investors were likely cautious ahead of this event. As a reminder, the ongoing IMPROVE-IT trial (due to complete Sep-14 per clinicaltrials.gov) is a large (18k patients) outcomes study with the primary objective of evaluating the clinical benefit of Vytorin (Zetia and Vytorin accounted for 9% of MRK’s 2012 revenue) versus simvastatin in terms of CV events/death in patients with recent acute coronary syndrome (ACS).”

Merck shares were mostly flat during Wednesday morning trading. The stock has increased 16% in the past year.

The Bottom Line
Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) have a 3.85% yield, based on Wednesday’s closing price of $44.65.

Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com DARS™ Rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars.

Be sure to visit our complete recommended list of the Best Dividend Stocks, as well as a detailed explanation of our ratings system here.

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