Dow Dividend Stocks #8: Merck (MRK)
Next on our list of dividend stocks is Merck (MRK). The global provider of health care products and services upped its quarterly dividend to 44 cents from 43 cents back in November, and the stock has been climbing ever since. MRK stock was up 23% last year, and has so far posted a 2014 return of about 4%.
The company lost the patent protection for its leading Singulair allergy and asthma medication back in 2012, a drug that was previously bringing in approximately $5 billion a year. Unlike several other health care stocks that soared through 2013, MRK has been a late bloomer, and currently maintains a five-year annualized growth rate of just 3%.
On the bright side, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced earlier this month that MRK’s new blood clot prevention drug Vorapaxar, which it will market under the brand name Zontivity, should be approved. That sent the shares soaring by 6.5% to a new 52-week high of $53.44, though they have come down a bit since then.
MRK is also in the works to market a new drug for patients suffering from melanoma, which should benefit investors greatly in the form of capital appreciation and increased dividend payments.