Vident Investment Advisory LLC grew its position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 84.6% during the 3rd quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 37,519 shares of the company’s stock after acquiring an additional 17,195 shares during the period. Vident Investment Advisory LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $2,402,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Several other large investors have also recently modified their holdings of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.7% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 194,144,317 shares of the company’s stock valued at $12,442,709,000 after buying an additional 3,312,459 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. grew its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.0% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 184,997,390 shares of the company’s stock worth $11,856,484,000 after buying an additional 1,834,500 shares during the period. Franklin Resources Inc. grew its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.1% during the second quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 27,019,572 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,731,684,000 after buying an additional 801,033 shares during the period. Ameriprise Financial Inc. grew its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 7.5% during the third quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 23,515,877 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,505,621,000 after buying an additional 1,631,013 shares during the period. Finally, Boston Partners grew its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.8% during the third quarter. Boston Partners now owns 18,730,874 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,199,338,000 after buying an additional 145,744 shares during the period. 72.85% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
Several research analysts have recently weighed in on the stock. Leerink Swann decreased their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $67.00 to $66.00 and set a “market perform” rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday. Credit Suisse Group cut their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $66.00 to $65.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday. BMO Capital Markets set a $65.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Tuesday. DZ Bank raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday. Finally, Morgan Stanley increased their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $60.00 to $63.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Wednesday, February 7th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co., Inc. has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $66.35.
Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) traded up $0.38 during trading on Thursday, hitting $55.28. 4,200,215 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 14,552,012. The firm has a market capitalization of $149,820.00, a P/E ratio of 59.29, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.45 and a beta of 0.75. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57, a quick ratio of 1.16 and a current ratio of 1.43. Merck & Co., Inc. has a twelve month low of $53.36 and a twelve month high of $66.80.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.94 by $0.04. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 6.40% and a return on equity of 27.73%. The firm had revenue of $10.43 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.48 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.89 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 3.1% compared to the same quarter last year. analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.15 earnings per share for the current year.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 6th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.48 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 14th. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.47%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is presently 206.45%.
Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its board has initiated a stock buyback program on Tuesday, November 28th that authorizes the company to buyback $10.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are generally a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.
About Merck & Co., Inc.
Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services and Alliances. 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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