Back in August of 2012, when Merck was trading at $43 and change, Bank of America Merrill Lynch downgraded Merck to a “Hold” — and cut the 12 month price target from $50 to $45.
Today, with Merck trading at just under $43 (i.e., not too-much different than in August 2012), B of A just upped the rating to “Buy” — and lifted the 12 month price target to $47. To be fair, when B of A downgraded Merck last, the Supremes hadn’t yet upheld Obamacare — a boon for pharmas with significant patient bases relying on government payors for their meds (and, at least in conservative circles, the ruling was a surprise — Congress has the power to tax?! — go figure!). In addition, Mr. Obama hadn’t yet won re-election (so some of the less thoughtful, less balanced voices out there were claiming there would be a wholesale repeal, with Mr. Romney’s election). That. All. Didn’t. Happen.
In any event, here is the Yahoo! News bit:
. . . .Merck upgraded to buy at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch. Low expectations, a cheap valuation and dividend yield make this stock attractive, BofA/Merrill said. Estimates through 2015 were increased, price target is $47. . . .