First Niagara Bank reduced its position in shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 0.8% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor owned 78,193 shares of the company’s stock after selling 596 shares during the period. Merck & Co. makes up 1.3% of First Niagara Bank’s holdings, making the stock its 24th largest position. First Niagara Bank’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $4,505,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
Other large investors also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Raymond James Trust N.A. raised its stake in Merck & Co. by 3.3% in the second quarter. Raymond James Trust N.A. now owns 337,745 shares of the company’s stock worth $19,457,000 after buying an additional 10,865 shares in the last quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB raised its stake in Merck & Co. by 16.1% in the second quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 2,411,985 shares of the company’s stock worth $138,954,000 after buying an additional 334,806 shares in the last quarter. Orbis Allan Gray Ltd bought a new stake in Merck & Co. during the first quarter worth about $239,761,000. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. raised its stake in Merck & Co. by 7.0% in the first quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 1,107,242 shares of the company’s stock worth $58,584,000 after buying an additional 72,808 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Avalon Advisors LLC raised its stake in Merck & Co. by 1.1% in the first quarter. Avalon Advisors LLC now owns 522,566 shares of the company’s stock worth $27,649,000 after buying an additional 5,754 shares in the last quarter. 72.93% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded down 0.44% during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $61.66. The stock had a trading volume of 10,121,895 shares. The stock has a market cap of $170.50 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 33.82 and a beta of 0.68. Merck & Co. has a 12-month low of $47.97 and a 12-month high of $64.86. The company has a 50-day moving average of $62.63 and a 200-day moving average of $58.58.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 23.41% and a net margin of 13.01%. The business had revenue of $9.84 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.79 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.86 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts anticipate that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th were issued a $0.46 dividend. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.98%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, September 13th. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 101.10%.
MRK has been the topic of a number of analyst reports. Berenberg Bank reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $62.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Sunday, September 11th. Argus reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $65.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Wednesday, September 14th. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $56.00 price target (down previously from $57.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Monday, September 12th. Credit Suisse Group AG raised Merck & Co. from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating and increased their price target for the company from $62.00 to $73.00 in a research report on Sunday, August 7th. Finally, Barclays PLC increased their price objective on Merck & Co. from $66.00 to $72.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, September 9th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have given a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of €63.80 ($70.89).
In related news, EVP Clark Golestani sold 3,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of €63.03 ($70.03), for a total value of €189,090.00 ($210,100.00). The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of €61.81 ($68.68), for a total value of €24,229,520.00 ($26,921,688.89). Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now directly owns 760,877 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €47,029,807.37 ($52,255,341.52). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.05% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
About Merck & Co.
Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, which it markets directly and through its joint ventures. It operates through one segment, Pharmaceutical. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.
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