Blue-Chip Pharma Stock Among Best to Own This Quarter

Now looks like a solid opportunity to bet on MRK's next leg higher

Digital Content Manager
Apr 5, 2022 at 3:32 PM
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The first quarter of 2022 has come and gone, leaving steep losses in its wake. With the second quarter currently underway, traders have the chance to revisit their portfolios and make any necessary adjustments. One stock in particular that stands out as a winner for the upcoming months is Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK). Below, we will further explore the blue-chip stock's performance, and why it may offer a solid investment opportunity this quarter.
Digging deeper, Merck stock appeared on Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White's list of best S&P 500 Index (SPX) stocks in the second quarter during the last decade. More specifically, the security averaged a 4.3% jump for the quarter, notching a positive settlement during nine out of those 10 years, marking it as the best pharmaceutical and Dow name on the list.


Best 2nd Quarter

The security has been on a tear higher since bouncing off the $73 area in February. Last seen up 0.6% at $84, shares earlier surged to their highest trading level since November, with the stock fresh off its fourth-consecutive weekly win. Additionally, the security reclaimed support at its 20-day moving average last month, and currently sports a 9.8% year-to-date lead.

MRK 20 Day

A shift in the options pits could create additional tailwinds for MRK. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the security's 50-day put/call volume ratio sits higher than 96% of readings in its annual range. This means long puts are getting picked up at a much quicker-than-usual pace.

Now may be a solid opportunity to bet on the stock's next move with options, too. This is per MRK's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 18%, which sits in the 22nd percentile of the past 12 months, suggesting options players are pricing in relatively low volatility expectations at the moment.


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