This leading health care company is also expected to partner with Samsung Bioepis, and its stock remains a top pick for conservative investors.
Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular issues, type 2 diabetes, asthma, nasal allergy symptoms, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, fungal infections, intra-abdominal infections, hypertension, arthritis and pain, inflammatory, osteoporosis, male pattern hair loss and fertility diseases.
The company also provides neuromuscular blocking agents for use in surgery, anti-bacterial products for skin and skin structure infections, cholesterol modifying medicines, non-sedating antihistamine and vaginal contraceptive products.
Merck shareholders receive an outstanding 3.34% dividend. Merrill Lynch does not cover this stock, but the consensus price target is $69.95. The stock traded at $55.65 a share on Friday morning.
This company is among the world’s largest pharmaceutical drug makers by sales and remains a top international pick across Wall Street. Novartis A.G. (NYSE: NVS) develops, manufactures and markets a range of health care products worldwide. It operates through three segments.
The Pharmaceuticals segment offers patented prescription medicines for oncology, neuroscience, retina, immunology and dermatology, respiratory, cardio-metabolic, established medicines and cell and gene therapies. Key products include Diovan (hypertension), Gleevec (CML and GIST), Tasigna (CML) and Gilenya (MS). The Alcon segment provides eye care products, while the Sandoz segment offers generic prescription medicines.
Shareholders of Novartis are paid a 2.79% dividend. Merrill Lynch has a Neutral rating and an $88 price target. The Wall Street consensus price objective is $88.67. The shares were last seen at $82.00.
This top global pharmaceutical company made a gigantic splash last year with a $5.5 billion purchase of Anacor Pharmaceuticals. Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) is organized into two commercial segments. The Biopharmaceutical segment is focused on discovering, developing and marketing drugs for cardiovascular, metabolic, central nervous system, immunology, pain, infectious diseases, respiratory, oncology and other indications. The Diversified segment includes the consumer products division.
Pfizer investors are paid a very solid 3.64% dividend. Merrill Lynch does not cover this stock either. The posted consensus price objective is $38.30, and shares traded at $34.85.
These five top companies already have long-standing franchises with huge sales and revenues. More conservative accounts may want to buy the pharmaceutical giants, while more aggressive accounts could look to the biotech giants.