Jennison Associates LLC lessened its position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 49.0% during the 4th quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 981,721 shares of the company’s stock after selling 942,644 shares during the quarter. Jennison Associates LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $55,241,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
Other hedge funds have also recently bought and sold shares of the company. First Personal Financial Services increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 4.8% in the 2nd quarter. First Personal Financial Services now owns 9,014 shares of the company’s stock valued at $578,000 after purchasing an additional 413 shares in the last quarter. Penobscot Investment Management Company Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.7% during the second quarter. Penobscot Investment Management Company Inc. now owns 25,529 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,636,000 after purchasing an additional 180 shares during the last quarter. Nikko Asset Management Americas Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the second quarter worth $7,781,000. Pegasus Partners Ltd. boosted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.3% during the second quarter. Pegasus Partners Ltd. now owns 12,668 shares of the company’s stock worth $812,000 after purchasing an additional 290 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Blair William & Co. IL boosted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 23.7% during the second quarter. Blair William & Co. IL now owns 419,531 shares of the company’s stock worth $26,888,000 after purchasing an additional 80,431 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 74.79% of the company’s stock.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) traded down $0.09 during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $54.80. 11,138,715 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 13,323,750. The company has a current ratio of 1.33, a quick ratio of 1.06 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.62. Merck & Co., Inc. has a twelve month low of $53.12 and a twelve month high of $66.41. The company has a market capitalization of $149,290.00, a PE ratio of 29.98, a PEG ratio of 2.28 and a beta of 0.81.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.94 by $0.04. The firm had revenue of $10.43 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.48 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 6.40% and a return on equity of 28.61%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 3.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.89 earnings per share. sell-side analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.16 earnings per share for the current year.
The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 6th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, March 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.48 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 14th. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.50%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 105.49%.
Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its board has initiated a share buyback plan on Tuesday, November 28th that allows the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are generally a sign that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.
A number of research analysts recently weighed in on the company. Credit Suisse Group reduced their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $67.00 to $66.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a report on Monday, February 5th. Leerink Swann dropped their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $67.00 to $66.00 and set a “market perform” rating on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, February 14th. ValuEngine lowered Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, February 2nd. BMO Capital Markets set a $65.00 target price on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Tuesday, February 13th. Finally, Morgan Stanley upped their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $60.00 to $63.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a report on Wednesday, February 7th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $66.41.
In related news, EVP Michael J. Holston sold 12,500 shares of the firm’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 $770,375.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director Wendell P. Weeks sold 5,000 shares of the firm’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 sale, the director now owns 5,100 shares in the company, valued at $273,207. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 82,500 shares of company stock worth $5,026,025 over the last three months. 0.25% of the stock is owned by insiders.
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Merck & Co., Inc. 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.
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