Waters Parkerson & CO. LLC Increases Position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

Waters Parkerson & CO. LLC grew its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 2.5% during the second quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The firm owned 344,668 shares of the company’s stock after acquiring an additional 8,298 shares during the period. Merck & Co., Inc. comprises about 1.5% of Waters Parkerson & CO. LLC’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 21st biggest holding. Waters Parkerson & CO. LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $26,805,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Other institutional investors also recently modified their holdings of the company. OLD Mission Capital LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 3rd quarter worth $247,000. Standard Life Aberdeen plc grew its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 14.7% in the first quarter. Standard Life Aberdeen plc now owns 1,213,425 shares of the company’s stock valued at $93,549,000 after purchasing an additional 155,899 shares during the period. Analyst IMS Investment Management Services Ltd. acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the first quarter worth about $471,000. Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd. raised its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 11.1% during the first quarter. Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd. now owns 918,021 shares of the company’s stock worth $70,770,000 after purchasing an additional 91,660 shares during the period. Finally, Black Creek Investment Management Inc. boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 35.5% in the 1st quarter. Black Creek Investment Management Inc. now owns 447,000 shares of the company’s stock valued at $34,459,000 after purchasing an additional 117,000 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 71.83% of the company’s stock.

Shares of MRK stock traded down $0.52 during trading on Thursday, reaching $72.29. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 559,329 shares, compared to its average volume of 11,236,858. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $71.71 and a 1-year high of $86.30. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $76.57 and its 200 day moving average price is $76.56. The company has a market capitalization of $182.99 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 33.25, a P/E/G ratio of 2.16 and a beta of 0.41. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.72, a current ratio of 1.31 and a quick ratio of 1.06.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 28th. The company reported $1.31 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.31. The business had revenue of $11.40 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $11.21 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 50.93% and a net margin of 11.48%. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.37 earnings per share. On average, sell-side analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 5.51 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, October 7th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, September 15th will be given a $0.65 dividend. This represents a $2.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.60%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, September 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 43.77%.

MRK has been the subject of a number of recent analyst reports. Truist Securities began coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Tuesday, July 27th. They set a “buy” rating and a $76.79 price target for the company. Argus restated a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Thursday, May 20th. Zacks Investment Research raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $82.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, August 24th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $105.00 to $100.00 and set an “overweight” rating for the company in a research report on Wednesday, June 9th. Finally, Truist assumed coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Tuesday, July 27th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $92.00 target price on the stock. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the stock. According to data from MarketBeat, Merck & Co., Inc. presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $91.09.

Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile

Merck & Co, Inc engages in the provision of health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health, and consumer care products. It operates through the following segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, and Other. The Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products.

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

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