Pzena Investment Management LLC raised its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 8.4% during the second quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The fund owned 4,904,336 shares of the company’s stock after acquiring an additional 379,906 shares during the quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. makes up 1.5% of Pzena Investment Management LLC’s holdings, making the stock its 27th biggest position. Pzena Investment Management LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $297,693,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

Other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Mckinley Capital Management LLC Delaware raised its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 5.6% in the second quarter. Mckinley Capital Management LLC Delaware now owns 15,447 shares of the company’s stock valued at $938,000 after purchasing an additional 815 shares during the period. Summit X LLC increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 9.2% during the 1st quarter. Summit X LLC now owns 10,093 shares of the company’s stock worth $552,000 after acquiring an additional 850 shares during the period. Covenant Asset Management LLC increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.4% during the 2nd quarter. Covenant Asset Management LLC now owns 62,353 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,785,000 after acquiring an additional 850 shares during the period. First Midwest Bank Trust Division increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.1% during the 2nd quarter. First Midwest Bank Trust Division now owns 42,242 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,564,000 after acquiring an additional 869 shares during the period. Finally, Pegasus Asset Management Inc. increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 4.2% during the 1st quarter. Pegasus Asset Management Inc. now owns 21,794 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,187,000 after acquiring an additional 873 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.19% of the company’s stock.

In other news, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 134,094 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, June 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.00, for a total value of $8,179,734.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 100,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,100,000. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, insider Sanat Chattopadhyay sold 29,208 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, August 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.20, for a total transaction of $1,904,361.60. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 70,675 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,608,010. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 396,393 shares of company stock worth $25,235,061 in the last three months. Insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

A number of research firms recently weighed in on MRK. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, June 18th. Barclays upped their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $75.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, September 7th. SunTrust Banks reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $77.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Thursday, August 16th. TheStreet raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a report on Friday, June 8th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $70.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Sunday, July 22nd. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $67.93.

Shares of NYSE:MRK opened at $70.83 on Friday. The firm has a market capitalization of $188.36 billion, a PE ratio of 17.80, a P/E/G ratio of 2.41 and a beta of 0.81. Merck & Co., Inc. has a one year low of $52.83 and a one year high of $70.94. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a quick ratio of 1.04 and a current ratio of 1.33.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 27th. The company reported $1.06 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $10.47 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.28 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 3.67% and a return on equity of 32.68%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.01 EPS. research analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.27 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 5th. Stockholders of record on Monday, September 17th will be issued a $0.48 dividend. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.71%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, September 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 48.24%.

Merck & Co., Inc. 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.

Further Reading: Return on Investment (ROI) Defined, Explained

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

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