Rampart Investment Management Company LLC Sells 2,647 Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

Rampart Investment Management Company LLC trimmed its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 5.8% during the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 42,909 shares of the company’s stock after selling 2,647 shares during the quarter. Rampart Investment Management Company LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $3,598,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

A number of other institutional investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in MRK. Norges Bank bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the fourth quarter worth $2,166,688,000. BlackRock Inc. boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.3% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 191,863,408 shares of the company’s stock worth $16,087,745,000 after acquiring an additional 4,397,580 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 41.2% in the first quarter. FMR LLC now owns 11,111,444 shares of the company’s stock worth $924,139,000 after acquiring an additional 3,244,078 shares in the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.4% in the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 34,032,366 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,596,161,000 after acquiring an additional 3,219,877 shares in the last quarter. Finally, APG Asset Management N.V. boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 326.2% in the fourth quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. now owns 3,792,515 shares of the company’s stock worth $253,498,000 after acquiring an additional 2,902,600 shares in the last quarter. 74.97% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

A number of research analysts have recently issued reports on MRK shares. ValuEngine downgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, August 1st. JPMorgan Chase & Co. upped their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $90.00 to $93.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, June 14th. Leerink Swann started coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Thursday, August 15th. They set an “outperform” rating and a $103.00 price target on the stock. Goldman Sachs Group started coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Tuesday, May 28th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $85.00 price target on the stock. Finally, Morgan Stanley upped their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $84.00 to $90.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, June 21st. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eighteen have given a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $93.29.

Shares of NYSE:MRK traded down $0.65 during midday trading on Monday, reaching $81.96. 233,438 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 7,482,000. The company has a market cap of $213.30 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.88, a P/E/G ratio of 1.69 and a beta of 0.53. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82, a quick ratio of 0.92 and a current ratio of 1.21. Merck & Co., Inc. has a one year low of $66.10 and a one year high of $87.35. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $84.78 and a 200 day moving average of $81.89.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 30th. The company reported $1.30 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.16 by $0.14. The company had revenue of $11.76 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.94 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 43.34% and a net margin of 21.10%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s revenue for the quarter was up 12.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $1.06 earnings per share. Sell-side analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.91 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 7th. Investors of record on Monday, September 16th will be given a dividend of $0.55 per share. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.68%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, September 13th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 50.69%.

In related news, CFO Robert M. Davis sold 216,718 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, June 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $85.43, for a total transaction of $18,514,218.74. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 354,378 shares in the company, valued at $30,274,512.54. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Richard R. Deluca sold 6,427 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, August 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.09, for a total value of $546,873.43. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 103,223 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $8,783,245.07. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.27% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Merck & Co., Inc. Profile

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, intra-abdominal, fungal infection, insomnia, and inflammatory diseases.

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

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