Asahi Life Asset Management CO. LTD. Has $3.98 Million Stock Holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

Asahi Life Asset Management CO. LTD. cut its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRKGet Rating) by 3.5% in the third quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 46,199 shares of the company’s stock after selling 1,653 shares during the quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. makes up 1.2% of Asahi Life Asset Management CO. LTD.’s portfolio, making the stock its 28th largest position. Asahi Life Asset Management CO. LTD.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $3,979,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently made changes to their positions in the business. Gradient Capital Advisors LLC increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 7.7% in the third quarter. Gradient Capital Advisors LLC now owns 2,404 shares of the company’s stock valued at $207,000 after buying an additional 172 shares in the last quarter. Sound Shore Management Inc CT increased its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.9% in the third quarter. Sound Shore Management Inc CT now owns 668,158 shares of the company’s stock worth $57,542,000 after purchasing an additional 5,644 shares during the period. Consolidated Planning Corp increased its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 8.6% in the third quarter. Consolidated Planning Corp now owns 3,538 shares of the company’s stock worth $305,000 after purchasing an additional 280 shares during the period. Cowa LLC acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the third quarter worth about $192,000. Finally, Chevy Chase Trust Holdings LLC increased its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.2% in the third quarter. Chevy Chase Trust Holdings LLC now owns 1,609,292 shares of the company’s stock worth $138,592,000 after purchasing an additional 19,497 shares during the period. 72.89% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Insider Buying and Selling at Merck & Co., Inc.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, insider Sanat Chattopadhyay sold 83,994 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, January 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $112.29, for a total value of $9,431,686.26. Following the sale, the insider now owns 29,500 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,312,555. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, insider Kenneth C. Frazier sold 235,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, November 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $98.61, for a total value of $23,173,350.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 700,653 shares in the company, valued at approximately $69,091,392.33. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, insider Sanat Chattopadhyay sold 83,994 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, January 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $112.29, for a total value of $9,431,686.26. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 29,500 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,312,555. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 1,165,809 shares of company stock worth $118,007,120. Corporate insiders own 0.29% of the company’s stock.

Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades

A number of analysts recently commented on MRK shares. Cantor Fitzgerald lifted their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $120.00 to $135.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research report on Monday, December 19th. StockNews.com started coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Wednesday, October 12th. They issued a “strong-buy” rating for the company. Bank of America upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and lifted their price objective for the stock from $110.00 to $130.00 in a research report on Wednesday, January 4th. Guggenheim boosted their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $104.00 to $111.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, November 1st. Finally, Morgan Stanley boosted their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $91.00 to $100.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Friday, October 28th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, fourteen have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. According to data from MarketBeat.com, the company presently has a consensus rating of “Moderate Buy” and an average target price of $113.83.

Merck & Co., Inc. Stock Up 1.3 %

Shares of NYSE:MRK traded up $1.38 during trading on Wednesday, hitting $109.90. 926,095 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 8,476,969. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52 week low of $72.88 and a 52 week high of $115.49. The company has a current ratio of 1.46, a quick ratio of 1.22 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.64. The company has a market cap of $278.64 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.06, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.38 and a beta of 0.39. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $109.70 and a 200-day moving average price of $97.76.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRKGet Rating) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 27th. The company reported $1.85 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.67 by $0.18. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 46.57% and a net margin of 25.88%. The business had revenue of $14.96 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $14.05 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $1.75 EPS. Merck & Co., Inc.’s revenue for the quarter was up 13.7% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, research analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 7.4 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Merck & Co., Inc. Increases Dividend

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, January 9th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, December 15th were paid a $0.73 dividend. This is a boost from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.69. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, December 14th. This represents a $2.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.66%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is presently 48.59%.

Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile

(Get Rating)

Merck & Co, Inc operates as a healthcare company worldwide. It operates through two segments, Pharmaceutical and Animal Health. The Pharmaceutical segment offers human health pharmaceutical products in the areas of oncology, hospital acute care, immunology, neuroscience, virology, cardiovascular, and diabetes, as well as vaccine products, such as preventive pediatric, adolescent, and adult vaccines.

See Also

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

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