Kavar Capital Partners LLC Increases Stock Position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

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Kavar Capital Partners LLC lifted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 10.3% in the 3rd quarter, according to its most recent filing with the SEC. The firm owned 13,586 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 1,271 shares during the period. Kavar Capital Partners LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $1,127,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other institutional investors and hedge funds have also made changes to their positions in MRK. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.6% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 197,558,293 shares of the company’s stock worth $15,277,182,000 after acquiring an additional 1,212,965 shares in the last quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 89.9% in the 2nd quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 18,381,614 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,404,356,000 after purchasing an additional 8,699,890 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC grew its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.3% during the 2nd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 12,957,653 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,002,015,000 after buying an additional 41,706 shares during the last quarter. Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. grew its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 7.6% during the 2nd quarter. Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. now owns 12,598,490 shares of the company’s stock worth $974,241,000 after buying an additional 892,849 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Swiss National Bank increased its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.0% during the 2nd quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 10,769,157 shares of the company’s stock valued at $832,779,000 after buying an additional 109,300 shares in the last quarter. 73.18% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

NYSE MRK traded up $0.06 on Friday, reaching $80.45. 8,031,403 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 10,437,838. The firm has a market cap of $203.54 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.80, a P/E/G ratio of 1.89 and a beta of 0.42. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $79.58 and a 200-day moving average price of $80.27. Merck & Co., Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $65.25 and a fifty-two week high of $92.64. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.94, a quick ratio of 1.05 and a current ratio of 1.32.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, October 27th. The company reported $1.74 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.44 by $0.30. The company had revenue of $12.55 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $12.21 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 24.33% and a return on equity of 55.13%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 1.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $1.51 earnings per share. As a group, equities research analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 5.97 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, January 8th. Investors of record on Tuesday, December 15th will be given a dividend of $0.65 per share. The ex-dividend date is Monday, December 14th. This is an increase from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.61. This represents a $2.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.23%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is currently 47.01%.

In related news, CFO Robert M. Davis sold 251,273 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, October 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $81.03, for a total transaction of $20,360,651.19. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 422,329 shares in the company, valued at $34,221,318.87. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Insiders own 0.28% of the company’s stock.

A number of brokerages have recently weighed in on MRK. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $98.00 to $105.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research note on Friday, October 16th. Mizuho reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Tuesday, September 22nd. Berenberg Bank initiated coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, September 29th. They set a “hold” rating and a $88.00 price target on the stock. The Goldman Sachs Group upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and lifted their price objective for the stock from $91.00 to $105.00 in a research note on Monday, August 3rd. Finally, Sanford C. Bernstein reissued an “outperform” rating and set a $95.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Tuesday, November 10th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co., Inc. has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $95.33.

Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents for cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, intra-abdominal, fungal infection, insomnia, and inflammatory diseases; neuromuscular blocking agents; cholesterol modifying medicines; and anti-bacterial and vaginal contraceptive products.

Further Reading: Insider Trading

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

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