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Merck's stock is upgraded on theory that drugmaker is 'insulated from trade-related volatility'

Key Points
  • Atlantic Equities believes large pharmaceutical companies are "insulated" from the trade war between the U.S. and China.
  • And it says Merck is "the best positioned" to grow among the sector.
  • "We see the majority of growth coming from additional indications for already approved oncology products Keytruda, Lynparza and Lenvima," Atlantic says.
Merck & Company, Inc., d.b.a. Merck Sharp & Dohme outside the United States and Canada, is an American pharmaceutical company and one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
Igor Golovniov | LightRocket | Getty Images

Atlantic Equities upgraded its rating on shares of Merck to overweight on Monday, saying it is "best positioned" to grow among large pharmaceutical companies that the firm believes are protected from the U.S.-China trade war.

"Amid oversold conditions in a sector we believe can provide a source of defensive growth that is insulated from trade-related volatility and a recent pullback in the shares, we upgrade MRK to overweight," Atlantic analyst Steve Chesney said in a note to investors.

"We see the majority of growth coming from additional indications for already approved oncology products Keytruda, Lynparza and Lenvima," Chesney said of Merck.

Merck shares slid 1.3% in trading to close at $77.17. S&P 500 futures also were down. Atlantic Equities has an $87 a share price target on Merck.