Hotaling Investment Management LLC purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) in the 4th quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund purchased 10,244 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $783,000.
A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds have also made changes to their positions in MRK. Bank of New York Mellon Corp boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 184,252.6% during the 3rd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 38,985,039 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,765,600,000 after purchasing an additional 38,963,892 shares during the last quarter. Capital International Investors boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 178.2% during the 3rd quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 32,984,606 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,339,928,000 after purchasing an additional 21,127,887 shares during the last quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 64.3% during the 3rd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 20,519,549 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,455,653,000 after purchasing an additional 8,032,634 shares during the last quarter. Matthew Goff Investment Advisor LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 5,970.0% during the 3rd quarter. Matthew Goff Investment Advisor LLC now owns 5,369,519 shares of the company’s stock worth $88,460,000 after purchasing an additional 5,281,059 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Senator Investment Group LP acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth $285,594,000. 74.29% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.
MRK stock opened at $76.71 on Tuesday. 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 fifty-two week low of $52.83 and a fifty-two week high of $80.19. The company has a market cap of $209.01 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.68, a PEG ratio of 2.05 and a beta of 0.62.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its earnings results on Friday, February 1st. The company reported $1.04 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.01. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 14.71% and a return on equity of 35.10%. The firm had revenue of $11 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.93 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.98 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 5.4% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.65 EPS for the current year.
Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its board has authorized a share buyback program on Thursday, October 25th that permits the company to buyback $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the company to purchase up to 5.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are usually a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 5th. Investors of record on Friday, March 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.55 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, March 14th. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.87%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 50.69%.
In related news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 231,566 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, February 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.08, for a total transaction of $18,080,673.28. Following the sale, the chairman now directly owns 923,516 shares in the company, valued at $72,108,129.28. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director Leslie A. Brun sold 3,052 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $77.22, for a total transaction of $235,675.44. Following the sale, the director now owns 5,000 shares in the company, valued at $386,100. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 244,618 shares of company stock worth $19,075,949 over the last 90 days. Insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.
Several equities research analysts have issued reports on the stock. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $83.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Friday, January 4th. BMO Capital Markets lifted their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $82.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Monday, October 22nd. ValuEngine raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, October 18th. Citigroup set a $79.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 16th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group set a $86.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, December 13th. Six analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eleven have issued a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $73.15.
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Merck & Co., Inc. 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 agents to treat cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, asthma, nasal allergy, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, fungal, intra-abdominal, hypertension, arthritis and pain, inflammatory, osteoporosis, and fertility diseases.
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