SSI Investment Management Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.8% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor owned 7,102 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 125 shares during the period. SSI Investment Management Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $410,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Other large investors have also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Americafirst Capital Management LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co. during the second quarter valued at $115,000. First New York Securities LLC NY purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co. during the second quarter valued at $121,000. NewSquare Capital LLC increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 14.2% in the second quarter. NewSquare Capital LLC now owns 2,104 shares of the company’s stock valued at $121,000 after buying an additional 261 shares in the last quarter. QCI Asset Management Inc. NY increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 1.1% in the second quarter. QCI Asset Management Inc. NY now owns 2,382 shares of the company’s stock valued at $137,000 after buying an additional 27 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Lowe fs LLC increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 1.8% in the second quarter. Lowe fs LLC now owns 2,619 shares of the company’s stock valued at $151,000 after buying an additional 46 shares in the last quarter. 72.93% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded down 0.59% during trading on Friday, reaching $62.14. 12,204,208 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $62.56 and a 200-day moving average of $58.70. The stock has a market capitalization of $171.83 billion, a PE ratio of 34.09 and a beta of 0.68. Merck & Co. has a 52 week low of $47.97 and a 52 week high of $64.86.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. Merck & Co. had a net margin of 13.01% and a return on equity of 23.41%. The company had revenue of $9.84 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.79 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.86 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 EPS for the current year.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th were paid a dividend of $0.46 per share. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.96%. Merck & Co.’s payout ratio is 101.10%.
Several brokerages have recently weighed in on MRK. Argus reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $65.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Wednesday, September 14th. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “market perform” rating and issued a $62.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Tuesday, August 2nd. Barclays PLC reaffirmed an “overweight” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Wednesday. Jefferies Group raised their price target on shares of Merck & Co. from $50.00 to $53.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 14th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $70.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Friday. Twelve analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and ten have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of €65.05 ($72.28).
In related news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of €62.07 ($68.97), for a total transaction of €2,532,456.00 ($2,813,840.00). Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 128,973 shares in the company, valued at €8,005,354.11 ($8,894,837.90). The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of €61.81 ($68.68), for a total transaction of €24,229,520.00 ($26,921,688.89). Following the sale, the chairman now owns 760,877 shares in the company, valued at €47,029,807.37 ($52,255,341.52). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.
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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