Dai Ichi Life Insurance Company Ltd lowered its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 5.3% in the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 347,330 shares of the company‚Äôs stock after selling 19,601 shares during the quarter. Dai Ichi Life Insurance Company Ltd‚Äôs holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $21,083,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Several other hedge funds have also bought and sold shares of the company. Clearwater Capital Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the first quarter valued at approximately $103,000. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. raised its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 208.4% during the first quarter. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. now owns 1,983 shares of the company‚Äôs stock valued at $108,000 after purchasing an additional 1,340 shares during the period. Taylor Wealth Management Partners purchased a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the second quarter valued at approximately $110,000. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 155.2% in the second quarter. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV now owns 1,832 shares of the company‚Äôs stock worth $111,000 after buying an additional 1,114 shares during the period. Finally, Well Done LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the first quarter worth approximately $115,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.30% of the company‚Äôs stock.
MRK has been the topic of several recent analyst reports. Citigroup set a $79.00 price target on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a ‚Äúbuy‚ÄĚ rating in a report on Tuesday, October 16th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a ‚Äúhold‚ÄĚ rating to a ‚Äúbuy‚ÄĚ rating and set a $79.00 price target on the stock in a report on Wednesday, September 26th. Guggenheim initiated coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Monday, October 8th. They issued a ‚Äúbuy‚ÄĚ rating on the stock. Morgan Stanley set a $74.00 price target on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a ‚Äúbuy‚ÄĚ rating in a report on Thursday, August 23rd. Finally, SunTrust Banks restated a ‚Äúbuy‚ÄĚ rating and set a $77.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Thursday, August 16th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and sixteen have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of ‚ÄúBuy‚ÄĚ and an average price target of $70.99.
In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 279,850 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, October 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $72.07, for a total transaction of $20,168,789.50. Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now owns 971,800 shares in the company, valued at approximately $70,037,626. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 107,360 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction dated Monday, September 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.18, for a total value of $7,534,524.80. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 100,000 shares of the company‚Äôs stock, valued at approximately $7,018,000. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have sold 929,360 shares of company stock valued at $64,370,599. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.
Merck & Co., Inc. stock opened at $70.40 on Friday. The company has a quick ratio of 1.04, a current ratio of 1.33 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61. The firm has a market capitalization of $195.66 billion, a PE ratio of 17.69, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.24 and a beta of 0.81. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $52.83 and a 1-year high of $73.49.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks‚Äô consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 32.68% and a net margin of 3.67%. The firm had revenue of $10.79 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts‚Äô expectations of $10.87 billion. As a group, equities research analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.28 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 17th will be given a dividend of $0.55 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 14th. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.13%. This is a boost from Merck & Co., Inc.‚Äôs previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. Merck & Co., Inc.‚Äôs payout ratio is currently 48.24%.
Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its board has authorized a share buyback plan on Thursday, October 25th that authorizes the company to buyback $10.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to buy up to 5.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are generally a sign that the company‚Äôs board believes its stock is undervalued.
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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