GM Advisory Group Inc. purchased a new stake in Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) in the fourth quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The institutional investor purchased 5,155 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $290,000.
Other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also modified their holdings of the company. American International Group Inc. lifted its stake in Merck & Co. by 992.8% during the fourth quarter. American International Group Inc. now owns 9,152,305 shares of the company’s stock valued at $515,000,000 after buying an additional 8,314,765 shares in the last quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC lifted its stake in Merck & Co. by 172.3% during the third quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 6,705,564 shares of the company’s stock valued at $429,347,000 after buying an additional 4,243,246 shares in the last quarter. Capital International Investors lifted its stake in Merck & Co. by 55.3% during the third quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 9,623,382 shares of the company’s stock valued at $616,185,000 after buying an additional 3,428,400 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its stake in Merck & Co. by 1.7% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 194,144,317 shares of the company’s stock valued at $12,442,709,000 after buying an additional 3,312,459 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Stifel Financial Corp lifted its stake in Merck & Co. by 95,700.4% during the third quarter. Stifel Financial Corp now owns 3,281,163 shares of the company’s stock valued at $210,016,000 after buying an additional 3,277,738 shares in the last quarter. 74.60% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.
In related news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 24,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, April 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $58.00, for a total value of $1,392,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, Director Wendell P. Weeks sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.57, for a total value of $267,850.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 5,100 shares in the company, valued at approximately $273,207. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.
A number of analysts have commented on MRK shares. Barclays raised shares of Merck & Co. from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and upped their price objective for the company from $62.00 to $64.00 in a research note on Thursday, April 5th. SunTrust Banks raised shares of Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their price objective for the company from $54.00 to $72.00 in a research note on Tuesday, January 16th. ValuEngine raised shares of Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 10th. BMO Capital Markets upped their price objective on shares of Merck & Co. from $68.00 to $72.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 17th. Finally, DZ Bank raised shares of Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, February 13th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and fifteen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co. has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $66.83.
NYSE MRK opened at $59.27 on Wednesday. The company has a quick ratio of 1.06, a current ratio of 1.33 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.62. The company has a market capitalization of $154,141.17, a PE ratio of 14.89, a P/E/G ratio of 2.41 and a beta of 0.77. Merck & Co. has a 52-week low of $52.83 and a 52-week high of $66.41.
Merck & Co. (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 analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.94 by $0.04. Merck & Co. had a net margin of 6.40% and a return on equity of 28.61%. The business had revenue of $10.43 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.48 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.89 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 3.1% compared to the same quarter last year. sell-side analysts predict that Merck & Co. will post 4.16 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, April 6th. Investors of record on Thursday, March 15th were issued a $0.48 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, March 14th. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.24%. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 48.24%.
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About Merck & Co.
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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