Can Merck Continue to Surge Higher?

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With shares of Merck (NYSE:MRK) trading around $53, is MRK an OUTPERFORM, WAIT AND SEE, or STAY AWAY? Let’s analyze the stock with the relevant sections of our CHEAT SHEET investing framework:

T = Trends for a Stock’s Movement

Merck is a global health care company that delivers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health, and consumer care products, which it markets directly and through its joint ventures. The company consists of four operating segments: the Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Consumer Care, and Alliances segments, and one reportable segment in the Pharmaceutical segment. Merck aims to provide valuable health care products and services to consumers, animals, and companies in need worldwide. Look for the company to see rising profits as it advances the products and services of the health care field.

Merck is considering its options for its animal health and consumer-care operations and plans to carry out any moves this year. The pharmaceutical company said it “could reach different decisions” about the businesses. Merck’s comments follow reports last week that the company is in talks with Novartis (NYSE:NVS) about the Swiss pharmaceuticals company swapping its animal-health and human vaccines businesses for the U.S. drug maker’s over-the-counter health-products unit. As part of a plan announced in October, Merck expects to cut annual operating costs by $2.5B by the end of 2015 versus 2012, with $1B to be realized by the end of this year. Meanwhile, Merck has started the process of applying for approval of its MK-3475 immunotherapy for patients with advanced melanoma who have stopped responding to Bristol-Myer Squibb’s Yervoy. Merck expects to complete the initial filing this year.

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