State of Wisconsin Investment Board Buys 532,003 Shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (MRK)

State of Wisconsin Investment Board lifted its holdings in Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 19.0% during the 1st quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 3,326,013 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 532,003 shares during the period. Merck & comprises 0.8% of State of Wisconsin Investment Board’s holdings, making the stock its 17th biggest holding. State of Wisconsin Investment Board owned about 0.12% of Merck & worth $211,335,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other institutional investors and hedge funds have also made changes to their positions in MRK. Boston Partners increased its position in shares of Merck & by 2.6% in the first quarter. Boston Partners now owns 19,935,016 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,266,671,000 after acquiring an additional 500,476 shares in the last quarter. Bank of Montreal Can increased its position in shares of Merck & by 49.7% in the first quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 8,991,093 shares of the company’s stock worth $571,295,000 after acquiring an additional 2,983,319 shares in the last quarter. Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. increased its position in shares of Merck & by 0.6% in the first quarter. Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. now owns 7,937,918 shares of the company’s stock worth $504,375,000 after acquiring an additional 46,053 shares in the last quarter. Fisher Asset Management LLC increased its position in shares of Merck & by 0.9% in the first quarter. Fisher Asset Management LLC now owns 6,862,961 shares of the company’s stock worth $436,073,000 after acquiring an additional 60,697 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board increased its position in shares of Merck & by 70.4% in the first quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 5,568,791 shares of the company’s stock worth $353,841,000 after acquiring an additional 2,300,200 shares in the last quarter. 73.02% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) opened at 66.16 on Friday. The company has a market cap of $180.44 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 35.82 and a beta of 0.81. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $63.41 and a 200 day moving average of $63.72. Merck & Company, Inc. has a one year low of $58.29 and a one year high of $66.80.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.14. Merck & had a return on equity of 26.02% and a net margin of 17.14%. The business had revenue of $9.93 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.75 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.93 EPS. Merck &’s revenue for the quarter was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts anticipate that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.87 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 6th. Investors of record on Friday, September 15th will be given a dividend of $0.47 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 14th. This represents a $1.88 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.84%. Merck &’s payout ratio is 76.11%.

Several research analysts have recently weighed in on MRK shares. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a “sell” rating and issued a $52.00 target price on shares of Merck & in a research report on Sunday, August 20th. Credit Suisse Group lowered their price objective on shares of Merck & from $75.00 to $74.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, August 30th. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 price objective on shares of Merck & in a research report on Friday, September 8th. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 11th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $66.00 price objective (up from $64.00) on shares of Merck & in a research report on Monday, July 17th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Merck & presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $70.00.

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Merck & Company Profile

Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services and Alliances. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Merck & (NYSE:MRK)

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