Merck & Co. (MRK) Shares Bought by Financial Counselors Inc.
Financial Counselors Inc. increased its position in Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 2.6% during the second quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 245,463 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 6,240 shares during the period. Merck & Co. accounts for about 0.8% of Financial Counselors Inc.’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 24th largest position. Financial Counselors Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $14,141,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Other large investors also recently modified their holdings of the company. BlackRock Fund Advisors increased its position in Merck & Co. by 1.4% in the first quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 43,031,080 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,276,774,000 after buying an additional 578,591 shares during the period. BlackRock Group LTD increased its position in Merck & Co. by 2.0% in the first quarter. BlackRock Group LTD now owns 27,068,748 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,432,206,000 after buying an additional 525,220 shares during the period. Geode Capital Management LLC increased its position in Merck & Co. by 1.5% in the first quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 23,656,034 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,249,222,000 after buying an additional 353,474 shares during the period. Ameriprise Financial Inc. increased its position in Merck & Co. by 24.1% in the second quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 22,992,642 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,324,996,000 after buying an additional 4,468,488 shares during the period. Finally, Boston Partners increased its position in Merck & Co. by 23.8% in the second quarter. Boston Partners now owns 19,034,299 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,096,566,000 after buying an additional 3,655,639 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.93% of the company’s stock.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) opened at 62.14 on Monday. Merck & Co. has a 52-week low of $47.97 and a 52-week high of $64.86. The firm has a market capitalization of $171.83 billion, a PE ratio of 34.09 and a beta of 0.68. The company’s 50-day moving average is $62.56 and its 200-day moving average is $58.70.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.91 by $0.02. The firm earned $9.84 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.79 billion. Merck & Co. had a net margin of 13.01% and a return on equity of 23.41%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up .6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.86 earnings per share. Analysts forecast that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 15th were given a dividend of $0.46 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.96%. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 101.10%.
A number of research analysts recently weighed in on MRK shares. Barclays PLC raised their target price on shares of Merck & Co. from $66.00 to $72.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, September 9th. Jefferies Group raised their target price on shares of Merck & Co. from $53.00 to $57.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, August 8th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $70.00 target price for the company in a research report on Friday. Sanford C. Bernstein reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and issued a $74.00 target price (up previously from $66.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Thursday, August 11th. Finally, Morgan Stanley set a $60.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 13th. Twelve research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of €65.58 ($72.87).
In other news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of €62.07 ($68.97), for a total value of €2,532,456.00 ($2,813,840.00). Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 128,973 shares in the company, valued at €8,005,354.11 ($8,894,837.90). The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of €61.81 ($68.68), for a total transaction of €24,229,520.00 ($26,921,688.89). Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now owns 760,877 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €47,029,807.37 ($52,255,341.52). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.
Merck & Co. Company Profile
Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, which it markets directly and through its joint ventures. It operates through one segment, Pharmaceutical. 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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