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Merck Moves up Three Places on the Most Watched Stocks List Ahead of Its Dividend Payout

Anish Sharma Jan 30, 2018

Drug manufacturer Merck moved up three places on the Most Watched Stocks List last week as the company goes ex-dividend on March 14 with a payout of 48 cents per share.

Currently yielding above 3%, the company’s yield is much higher than the current healthcare average of 0.60%. A three-place jump in the list is very rare. It usually happens when a stock is near its ex-dividend date or has just beat earnings. Last week there was nothing major that could have prompted investors to add this stock to their watchlists.

Merck has an earnings announcement on February 2 before the market opens where it will declare quarter-ending 2017 results. It is poised to beat last year’s same quarter performance of 89 cents as analysts expect the company to declare 94 cents per share on Friday of this week.

Another drug manufacturer Abbott Labs was added to investors’ watchlists as the stock moved up a spot to the 59th position. The stock has been doing very well on the dividend-growth front. Its most recent dividend increase of 5.6% means that the stock is now on track to record 46 consecutive years of dividend increases if it maintains the payout this year.

Portland General Electric, which crept into the top 100 most watched stocks a few weeks ago, is slowly gaining momentum as the company moved up a place to claim the 98th spot last week. Government Properties Income Trust, the REIT that lends primarily to the U.S. government, was also a favorite last week as it moved up two place from 58th to 56th.

Our Most Watched Stocks List is a user-generated, interest-based ranking of dividend-paying stocks, giving you a real-time snapshot of buying interest in the market. Generated by our Premium members’ watchlists, it’s aggregated and ranked by the most watched criteria.

The list has been designed to help income investors navigate the top dividend stocks being tracked by one of the world’s most advanced investing communities.

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