Does Merck Belong in Your Portfolio?

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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 healthcare 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 healthcare field.

Merck will work with three other drugmakers to find the most-promising combination treatments for its top pipeline prospect, an immune system-based cancer medicine. The collaboration boosted Merck’s shares after the company reported fourth-quarter earnings that fell short of estimates. Earnings excluding certain items were 88 cents a share, 1 cent below the average of 15 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The Whitehouse, New Jersey-based company also forecast 2014 profit of $3.35 to $3.53 a share, compared with $3.48 projected by analysts.

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