Merck & Co. (MRK) Stake Raised by Westpac Banking Corp

Westpac Banking Corp increased its position in shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 31.5% during the first quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 345,115 shares of the company’s stock after acquiring an additional 82,747 shares during the quarter. Westpac Banking Corp’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $18,798,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Cedar Capital LLC increased its stake in Merck & Co. by 25.2% in the 4th quarter. Cedar Capital LLC now owns 4,273 shares of the company’s stock valued at $240,000 after buying an additional 859 shares during the period. Pegasus Asset Management Inc. increased its stake in Merck & Co. by 4.2% in the 1st quarter. Pegasus Asset Management Inc. now owns 21,794 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,187,000 after buying an additional 873 shares during the period. Courier Capital LLC increased its stake in Merck & Co. by 1.1% in the 4th quarter. Courier Capital LLC now owns 82,677 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,652,000 after buying an additional 880 shares during the period. San Francisco Sentry Investment Group CA increased its stake in Merck & Co. by 3.6% in the 4th quarter. San Francisco Sentry Investment Group CA now owns 25,156 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,416,000 after buying an additional 885 shares during the period. Finally, Outfitter Advisors LTD. increased its stake in Merck & Co. by 1.6% in the 1st quarter. Outfitter Advisors LTD. now owns 55,998 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,050,000 after buying an additional 890 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 73.14% of the company’s stock.

MRK stock opened at $59.09 on Friday. The company has a quick ratio of 1.10, a current ratio of 1.42 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.63. The company has a market capitalization of $159.53 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.85, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.25 and a beta of 0.76. Merck & Co. has a 12 month low of $52.83 and a 12 month high of $66.41.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, May 1st. The company reported $1.05 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.00 by $0.05. The company had revenue of $10.04 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.09 billion. Merck & Co. had a net margin of 4.31% and a return on equity of 30.93%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.88 earnings per share. equities research analysts predict that Merck & Co. will post 4.23 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 9th. Shareholders of record on Friday, June 15th will be given a $0.48 dividend. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.25%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, June 14th. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio is 48.24%.

Several research analysts have weighed in on the stock. Deutsche Bank reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Wednesday, April 25th. ValuEngine lowered shares of Merck & Co. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. BMO Capital Markets upped their price objective on shares of Merck & Co. from $65.00 to $70.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 26th. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Merck & Co. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 16th. Finally, Bank of America upped their price objective on shares of Merck & Co. from $68.00 to $70.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, April 17th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and fourteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $65.87.

In other Merck & Co. news, EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 9,972 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, May 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $59.66, for a total value of $594,929.52. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 24,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, April 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $58.00, for a total transaction of $1,392,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

Merck & Co. 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.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK)

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