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Has Merck & Co. (MRK) Outpaced Other Medical Stocks This Year?

Zacks Equity Research

For those looking to find strong Medical stocks, it is prudent to search for companies in the group that are outperforming their peers. Merck & Co. (MRK) is a stock that can certainly grab the attention of many investors, but do its recent returns compare favorably to the sector as a whole? One simple way to answer this question is to take a look at the year-to-date performance of MRK and the rest of the Medical group's stocks.

Merck & Co. is one of 867 companies in the Medical group. The Medical group currently sits at #3 within the Zacks Sector Rank. The Zacks Sector Rank includes 16 different groups and is listed in order from best to worst in terms of the average Zacks Rank of the individual companies within each of these sectors.

The Zacks Rank is a proven model that highlights a variety of stocks with the right characteristics to outperform the market over the next one to three months. The system emphasizes earnings estimate revisions and favors companies with improving earnings outlooks. MRK is currently sporting a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).

Over the past three months, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for MRK's full-year earnings has moved 4.41% higher. This shows that analyst sentiment has improved and the company's earnings outlook is stronger.

Based on the most recent data, MRK has returned 8.61% so far this year. In comparison, Medical companies have returned an average of 3.80%. As we can see, Merck & Co. is performing better than its sector in the calendar year.

Breaking things down more, MRK is a member of the Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry, which includes 14 individual companies and currently sits at #55 in the Zacks Industry Rank. On average, stocks in this group have gained 1.54% this year, meaning that MRK is performing better in terms of year-to-date returns.

Going forward, investors interested in Medical stocks should continue to pay close attention to MRK as it looks to continue its solid performance.


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