Daiwa Securities Group Inc. raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 12.1% during the third quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The fund owned 153,614 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 16,639 shares during the period. Daiwa Securities Group Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $10,897,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
A number of other institutional investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in MRK. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $66,918,000. Pioneer Trust Bank N A OR lifted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 20.6% in the 2nd quarter. Pioneer Trust Bank N A OR now owns 9,360 shares of the company’s stock worth $568,000 after purchasing an additional 1,600 shares in the last quarter. Ballentine Partners LLC lifted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 7.1% in the 2nd quarter. Ballentine Partners LLC now owns 17,277 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,048,000 after purchasing an additional 1,146 shares in the last quarter. Sicart Associates LLC purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $5,454,000. Finally, GWM Advisors LLC lifted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 20.3% in the 2nd quarter. GWM Advisors LLC now owns 37,938 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,294,000 after purchasing an additional 6,390 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.72% of the company’s stock.
In related news, insider Roger M. Perlmutter sold 225,443 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.27, for a total value of $16,969,094.61. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 366,998 shares in the company, valued at approximately $27,623,939.46. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 107,360 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, September 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.18, for a total transaction of $7,534,524.80. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 100,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $7,018,000. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have sold 1,279,104 shares of company stock worth $92,845,846. Corporate insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.
MRK stock opened at $76.72 on Friday. The company has a market cap of $210.87 billion, a PE ratio of 19.28, a PEG ratio of 2.13 and a beta of 0.71. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a quick ratio of 1.15 and a current ratio of 1.44. Merck & Co., Inc. has a one year low of $52.83 and a one year high of $80.19.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. The firm had revenue of $10.79 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.87 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 8.44% and a return on equity of 34.48%. Analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 earnings per share for the current year.
Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its board has authorized a stock buyback plan on Thursday, October 25th that authorizes the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to buy up to 5.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are often a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Stockholders of record on Monday, December 17th will be given a dividend of $0.55 per share. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.87%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 14th. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is presently 48.24%.
MRK has been the topic of a number of research reports. ValuEngine raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, October 18th. Morgan Stanley set a $74.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 23rd. SunTrust Banks reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $77.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Thursday, August 16th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $79.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, September 26th. Finally, Citigroup set a $79.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 16th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co., Inc. has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $73.65.
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About Merck & Co., Inc.
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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