Capital International Investors Boosts Holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

Capital International Investors increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 2.7% during the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 39,628,116 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 1,034,782 shares during the quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. accounts for about 1.2% of Capital International Investors’ investment portfolio, making the stock its 17th largest position. Capital International Investors owned approximately 1.56% of Merck & Co., Inc. worth $3,604,177,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other institutional investors and hedge funds have also bought and sold shares of MRK. KCM Investment Advisors LLC raised its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.9% during the 4th quarter. KCM Investment Advisors LLC now owns 66,669 shares of the company’s stock worth $6,064,000 after acquiring an additional 1,878 shares during the period. Equitable Holdings Inc. bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter worth approximately $1,737,000. HM Payson & Co. raised its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.4% during the 4th quarter. HM Payson & Co. now owns 308,403 shares of the company’s stock worth $28,049,000 after acquiring an additional 1,097 shares during the period. Bamco Inc. NY raised its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 44.9% during the 4th quarter. Bamco Inc. NY now owns 10,739 shares of the company’s stock worth $977,000 after acquiring an additional 3,327 shares during the period. Finally, Brinker Capital Inc. raised its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.4% during the 4th quarter. Brinker Capital Inc. now owns 148,803 shares of the company’s stock worth $13,550,000 after acquiring an additional 4,924 shares during the period. 75.74% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

In other news, EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 102,073 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, January 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $89.34, for a total transaction of $9,119,201.82. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 106,099 shares in the company, valued at $9,478,884.66. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Company insiders own 0.27% of the company’s stock.

A number of equities research analysts have commented on MRK shares. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Saturday, February 29th. UBS Group decreased their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $99.00 to $96.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research note on Thursday, February 6th. Cantor Fitzgerald restated a “buy” rating and set a $95.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Wednesday, January 8th. Royal Bank of Canada restated a “sector perform” rating and set a $92.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Thursday, February 6th. Finally, Barclays started coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Thursday, February 27th. They set an “overweight” rating and a $93.00 target price on the stock. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $94.50.

Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock traded up $3.78 on Thursday, hitting $72.00. 6,040,411 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 18,445,974. The stock has a market capitalization of $175.13 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.90, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.76 and a beta of 0.69. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.87, a quick ratio of 0.97 and a current ratio of 1.24. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52 week low of $65.25 and a 52 week high of $92.64. The business has a 50-day simple moving average of $79.60 and a 200 day simple moving average of $84.79.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, February 5th. The company reported $1.16 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.15 by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $11.87 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $11.71 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 21.01% and a return on equity of 49.41%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $1.04 earnings per share. Research analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 5.72 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, April 7th. Stockholders of record on Monday, March 16th will be given a dividend of $0.61 per share. This represents a $2.44 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.39%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, March 13th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is currently 47.01%.

Merck & Co., Inc. Profile

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, intra-abdominal, fungal infection, insomnia, and inflammatory diseases.

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

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