River & Mercantile Asset Management LLP Takes $105,000 Position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

River & Mercantile Asset Management LLP acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) during the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund acquired 1,248 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $105,000.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Stillwater Investment Management LLC raised its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.6% during the second quarter. Stillwater Investment Management LLC now owns 4,796 shares of the company’s stock valued at $402,000 after buying an additional 120 shares during the period. Southeast Asset Advisors Inc. raised its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.3% during the second quarter. Southeast Asset Advisors Inc. now owns 5,349 shares of the company’s stock valued at $449,000 after buying an additional 120 shares during the period. Pensionmark Financial Group LLC raised its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 4.2% during the second quarter. Pensionmark Financial Group LLC now owns 3,057 shares of the company’s stock valued at $258,000 after buying an additional 124 shares during the period. Oliver Luxxe Assets LLC grew its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.3% in the second quarter. Oliver Luxxe Assets LLC now owns 43,677 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,671,000 after purchasing an additional 126 shares in the last quarter. Finally, SeaCrest Wealth Management LLC grew its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.3% in the second quarter. SeaCrest Wealth Management LLC now owns 40,683 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,411,000 after purchasing an additional 128 shares in the last quarter. 74.97% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

In related news, EVP Richard R. Deluca sold 6,427 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $85.09, for a total transaction of $546,873.43. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 103,223 shares in the company, valued at approximately $8,783,245.07. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. 0.27% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of research analysts have commented on MRK shares. Leerink Swann started coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Thursday, August 15th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $103.00 target price on the stock. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $90.00 to $93.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Friday, June 14th. Societe Generale set a $105.00 target price on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, September 3rd. ValuEngine downgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 2nd. Finally, Credit Suisse Group restated a “buy” rating and issued a $95.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Wednesday, August 7th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and seventeen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $93.29.

MRK opened at $84.34 on Friday. The company has a market cap of $215.94 billion, a PE ratio of 19.43, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.71 and a beta of 0.53. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $84.54 and a 200-day moving average of $82.24. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52-week low of $66.10 and a 52-week high of $87.35. 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. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 30th. The company reported $1.30 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.16 by $0.14. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 43.34% and a net margin of 21.10%. The company had revenue of $11.76 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.94 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $1.06 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 12.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, research analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.92 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, October 7th. Investors of record on Monday, September 16th were paid a dividend of $0.55 per share. The ex-dividend date was Friday, September 13th. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.61%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 50.69%.

About Merck & Co., Inc.

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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