Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Company LTD reduced its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 4.1% during the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The firm owned 265,781 shares of the company’s stock after selling 11,306 shares during the period. Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Company LTD’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $14,955,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Other large investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Honeywell International Inc. boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.8% in the 3rd quarter. Honeywell International Inc. now owns 633,700 shares of the company’s stock valued at $40,576,000 after buying an additional 100,500 shares in the last quarter. Hanson McClain Inc. boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 65.0% in the second quarter. Hanson McClain Inc. now owns 7,662 shares of the company’s stock worth $491,000 after purchasing an additional 3,019 shares in the last quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.3% in the third quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 524,481 shares of the company’s stock worth $33,582,000 after purchasing an additional 81,290 shares in the last quarter. Train Babcock Advisors LLC raised its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 19.8% during the fourth quarter. Train Babcock Advisors LLC now owns 10,810 shares of the company’s stock worth $609,000 after acquiring an additional 1,785 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Signature Financial Management Inc. raised its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 13.1% during the third quarter. Signature Financial Management Inc. now owns 13,432 shares of the company’s stock worth $779,000 after acquiring an additional 1,555 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 74.79% of the company’s stock.
In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total transaction of $3,697,800.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 101,484 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,254,458.92. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director Wendell P. Weeks sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.57, for a total transaction of $267,850.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 5,100 shares in the company, valued at approximately $273,207. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 82,500 shares of company stock worth $5,026,025. 0.25% of the stock is owned by company insiders.
MRK has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. Sanford C. Bernstein restated a “buy” rating and set a $64.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Wednesday, November 15th. SunTrust Banks upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their price objective for the company from $54.00 to $72.00 in a report on Tuesday, January 16th. BMO Capital Markets set a $68.00 target price on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 16th. ValuEngine raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 10th. Finally, Bank of America began coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Tuesday, November 28th. They set a “buy” rating and a $64.00 price target for the company. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $66.41.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) traded down $0.09 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $54.80. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 11,092,315 shares, compared to its average volume of 13,290,017. The firm has a market cap of $149,290.00, a P/E ratio of 29.98, a P/E/G ratio of 2.28 and a beta of 0.81. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.62, a current ratio of 1.33 and a quick ratio of 1.06. Merck & Co., Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $53.12 and a fifty-two week high of $66.41.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.94 by $0.04. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 28.61% and a net margin of 6.40%. The business had revenue of $10.43 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.48 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.89 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.16 earnings per share for the current year.
Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock repurchase program on Tuesday, November 28th that authorizes the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are typically a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.
The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 6th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, March 15th will be paid a $0.48 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, March 14th. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.50%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is presently 105.49%.
About Merck & Co., Inc.
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.
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