) to buy from hold, explaining confidence in the company's new management team.
Analyst Barbara Ryan says Merck impressed her with an aggressive, but achievable strategy to return to growth. She thinks its target (to compound earnings per share EPS growth in the double-digits through 2010) is ambitious and entails many risks, the most substantial of which are achieving new product successes and higher gross margin targets. However, she thinks the company's new management team is motivated and determined to execute, with a new sense of urgency and accountability, both of which were lacking with the prior CEO. She has a $36 price target on the stock.