Shares of Mercer International Inc. (NASDAQ:MERC) (TSE:MRI.U) have been assigned an average recommendation of “Hold” from the six brokerages that are covering the company, Marketbeat Ratings reports. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The average 12-month price objective among brokerages that have issued a report on the stock in the last year is $22.00.

Several brokerages recently weighed in on MERC. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Mercer International from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, May 7th. Royal Bank of Canada lifted their price objective on shares of Mercer International from $18.00 to $22.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Monday, May 6th. TD Securities lifted their price objective on shares of Mercer International from $18.00 to $21.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, May 6th. Raymond James reiterated a “strong-buy” rating and issued a $23.00 price objective on shares of Mercer International in a research report on Friday, May 3rd. Finally, Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Mercer International from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Friday, June 7th.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Bessemer Group Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Mercer International during the 4th quarter worth about $28,000. O Shaughnessy Asset Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of Mercer International during the 4th quarter worth about $44,000. American International Group Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Mercer International during the 1st quarter worth about $69,000. Mason Street Advisors LLC bought a new stake in shares of Mercer International during the 1st quarter worth about $187,000. Finally, United Services Automobile Association raised its position in shares of Mercer International by 24.4% during the 4th quarter. United Services Automobile Association now owns 20,962 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $219,000 after buying an additional 4,107 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 78.28% of the company’s stock.

NASDAQ:MERC traded up $0.03 during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $15.41. The stock had a trading volume of 18,028 shares, compared to its average volume of 450,561. The company has a market cap of $1.01 billion, a PE ratio of 7.90 and a beta of 1.69. Mercer International has a 52 week low of $9.36 and a 52 week high of $19.14. The company has a quick ratio of 2.65, a current ratio of 3.98 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.68.

Mercer International (NASDAQ:MERC) (TSE:MRI.U) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, May 2nd. The basic materials company reported $0.78 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.72 by $0.06. The firm had revenue of $484.00 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $476.87 million. Mercer International had a net margin of 9.82% and a return on equity of 26.76%. Mercer International’s quarterly revenue was up 31.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.82 EPS. As a group, equities analysts anticipate that Mercer International will post 2.35 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, July 3rd. Investors of record on Monday, June 24th will be given a $0.1375 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, June 21st. This is an increase from Mercer International’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.13. This represents a $0.55 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.57%. Mercer International’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 25.51%.

About Mercer International

Mercer International Inc, together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells northern bleached softwood Kraft (NBSK) pulp in the United States, Europe, Asia, and internationally. The company operates in two segments, Pulp and Wood Products. It produces NBSK pulp primarily from wood chips and pulp logs; carbon neutral or green energy using carbon-neutral bio-fuels, such as black liquor and wood waste; and tall oil for use as a chemical additive and green energy source.

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