Top Dividend Stocks #9: Merck (MRK)
Dividend Yield: 3.11%
YTD Performance: +13.25%
52-Week Return: +18.40%
Merck (NYSE:MRK), the $167 billion global provider of health care products and services, leads our list of Dow dividend stocks in capital appreciation in 2014. However, even after gaining more than 13% this year, MRK still offers a 3.22% dividend yield.
The run-up in the share price can also be seen in its 38.9 P/E ratio, which is higher than most of its peers. Still, MRK’s new immuno-oncology drug and foray into the Hepatitis C treatment area represent a promising pipeline that could reward long-term investors.
Merck is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings on April 29, and analysts are looking for EPS of 79 cents on revenue of $10.44 billion, both of which are lower than the levels reported a year ago. Part of the reason for the Street’s lowered expectations is that generic competition may be cutting into MRK’s top line, though a strong showing from several other segments of its business could help the stock when the numbers are released.