Merck & Co. (MRK) Stake Increased by Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc.

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. lifted its holdings in Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.9% in the first quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 8,263,169 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 151,723 shares during the quarter. Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. owned about 0.31% of Merck & Co. worth $450,095,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other institutional investors have also bought and sold shares of the company. Train Babcock Advisors LLC lifted its position in Merck & Co. by 19.8% during the 4th 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 period. Ascension Asset Management LLC acquired a new stake in Merck & Co. during the 4th quarter worth about $644,000. Mork Capital Management LLC acquired a new stake in Merck & Co. during the 4th quarter worth about $990,000. Signature Financial Management Inc. lifted its position in Merck & Co. by 13.1% during the 3rd 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 period. Finally, Teacher Retirement System of Texas lifted its position in Merck & Co. by 2.0% during the 4th quarter. Teacher Retirement System of Texas now owns 1,867,481 shares of the company’s stock worth $105,083,000 after acquiring an additional 35,735 shares during the period. 73.14% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

NYSE MRK opened at $59.09 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of $159.53 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.85, a P/E/G ratio of 2.25 and a beta of 0.76. Merck & Co. has a fifty-two week low of $52.83 and a fifty-two week high of $66.41. The company has a quick ratio of 1.10, a current ratio of 1.42 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.63.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, May 1st. The company reported $1.05 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.00 by $0.05. The business had revenue of $10.04 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.09 billion. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 30.93% and a net margin of 4.31%. The company’s revenue was up 6.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.88 EPS. analysts forecast that Merck & Co. will post 4.23 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 9th. Investors of record on Friday, June 15th will be paid a $0.48 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, June 14th. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.25%. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 48.24%.

In related news, EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 9,972 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $59.66, for a total value of $594,929.52. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 24,000 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction dated Monday, April 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $58.00, for a total value of $1,392,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.32% of the stock is owned by insiders.

MRK has been the subject of a number of research reports. Zacks Investment Research raised Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $66.00 price target for the company in a research report on Tuesday, April 17th. Morgan Stanley raised Merck & Co. from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and lifted their price target for the stock from $59.80 to $63.00 in a research report on Tuesday, April 17th. Deutsche Bank reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Wednesday, April 25th. BMO Capital Markets lifted their price target on Merck & Co. from $65.00 to $70.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Thursday, April 26th. Finally, Barclays raised Merck & Co. from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and lifted their price target for the stock from $62.00 to $64.00 in a research report on Thursday, April 5th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and fourteen have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $65.87.

Merck & Co. Company Profile

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates in four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, asthma, nasal allergy symptoms, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, fungal, intra-abdominal infections, hypertension, arthritis and pain, inflammatory, osteoporosis, and fertility diseases.

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

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