Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. NY decreased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 2.8% during the 2nd quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 413,769 shares of the company‚Äôs stock after selling 11,810 shares during the quarter. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. NY‚Äôs holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $25,116,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in MRK. BlackRock Inc. lifted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.5% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 185,546,933 shares of the company‚Äôs stock valued at $11,262,699,000 after buying an additional 831,243 shares during the period. Franklin Resources Inc. raised its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 13.6% during the 1st quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 49,101,614 shares of the company‚Äôs stock worth $2,674,552,000 after buying an additional 5,880,457 shares during the period. Bank of New York Mellon Corp raised its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 9.2% during the 2nd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 38,653,047 shares of the company‚Äôs stock worth $2,346,241,000 after buying an additional 3,242,430 shares during the period. Morgan Stanley raised its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.9% during the 2nd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 15,905,834 shares of the company‚Äôs stock worth $965,485,000 after buying an additional 149,438 shares during the period. Finally, Macquarie Group Ltd. raised its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 19.5% during the 2nd quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 14,733,548 shares of the company‚Äôs stock worth $894,326,000 after buying an additional 2,406,836 shares during the period. 72.30% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.
In related news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 228,091 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.00, for a total transaction of $14,825,915.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now directly owns 938,788 shares of the company‚Äôs stock, valued at $61,021,220. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. bought 666,666 shares of the firm‚Äôs stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 1st. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $15.00 per share, with a total value of $9,999,990.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 929,360 shares of company stock valued at $64,370,599. Company insiders own 0.32% of the company‚Äôs stock.
A number of research analysts recently weighed in on the company. BMO Capital Markets upped their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $82.00 and gave the stock an ‚Äúoutperform‚ÄĚ rating in a research note on Monday, October 22nd. ValuEngine raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a ‚Äúhold‚ÄĚ rating to a ‚Äúbuy‚ÄĚ rating in a research report on Thursday, October 18th. Wolfe Research began coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Tuesday. They set an ‚Äúoutperform‚ÄĚ rating on the stock. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a ‚Äúbuy‚ÄĚ rating to a ‚Äúhold‚ÄĚ rating in a report on Monday, October 1st. Finally, Guggenheim began coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Monday, October 8th. They set a ‚Äúbuy‚ÄĚ rating on the stock. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and sixteen have given a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. has a consensus rating of ‚ÄúBuy‚ÄĚ and an average target price of $70.99.
Shares of MRK stock traded up $0.44 on Friday, hitting $70.40. The stock had a trading volume of 16,950,613 shares, compared to its average volume of 10,809,047. The company has a market cap of $188.63 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.69, a P/E/G ratio of 2.15 and a beta of 0.81. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a current ratio of 1.33 and a quick ratio of 1.04. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12-month low of $52.83 and a 12-month high of $73.49.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters‚Äô consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. The company had revenue of $10.79 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.87 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 8.44% and a return on equity of 34.20%. As a group, research analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.3 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, October 25th that allows the company to buyback $10.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to purchase up to 5.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are often an indication that the company‚Äôs board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 17th will be paid a $0.55 dividend. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.‚Äôs previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 14th. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.13%. Merck & Co., Inc.‚Äôs dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 48.24%.
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 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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