Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) Holdings Boosted by Cohen & Steers Inc.

Cohen & Steers Inc. lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 5.4% in the fourth quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 182,906 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 9,401 shares during the quarter. Cohen & Steers Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $13,976,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.5% in the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 202,833,998 shares of the company’s stock valued at $14,389,044,000 after acquiring an additional 924,701 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.5% in the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 202,833,998 shares of the company’s stock valued at $14,389,044,000 after acquiring an additional 924,701 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 5.6% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 194,589,541 shares of the company’s stock valued at $14,868,587,000 after acquiring an additional 10,315,510 shares in the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 17,936.7% in the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 53,150,490 shares of the company’s stock valued at $696,000 after acquiring an additional 52,855,811 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.4% in the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 34,032,366 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,596,161,000 after acquiring an additional 3,219,877 shares in the last quarter. 75.17% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Shares of NYSE:MRK traded down $0.12 during midday trading on Friday, hitting $82.78. 7,620,994 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 10,835,730. Merck & Co., Inc. has a twelve month low of $59.80 and a twelve month high of $84.27. The company has a market capitalization of $215.52 billion, a PE ratio of 19.07, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.99 and a beta of 0.55. The company has a quick ratio of 1.06, a current ratio of 1.37 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, April 30th. The company reported $1.22 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.05 by $0.17. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 19.50% and a return on equity of 39.85%. The firm had revenue of $10.82 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.45 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $1.05 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.8% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, equities analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.72 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 8th. Investors of record on Monday, June 17th will be paid a $0.55 dividend. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.66%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, June 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 50.69%.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. purchased 4,121,683 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, April 8th. The stock was bought at an average price of $16.00 per share, for a total transaction of $65,946,928.00. The purchase was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 192,736 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, March 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of $82.05, for a total value of $15,813,988.80. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now owns 990,451 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $81,266,504.55. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 445,308 shares of company stock valued at $36,421,320 in the last three months. 0.27% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several analysts recently weighed in on the stock. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $90.00 to $93.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday. Goldman Sachs Group initiated coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Tuesday, May 28th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $85.00 price objective on the stock. Atlantic Securities upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating in a research report on Monday, May 13th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, May 3rd. Finally, UBS Group raised their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $87.00 to $88.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, May 2nd. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have given a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $83.79.

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Merck & Co., Inc. Company 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.

Further Reading: How can you know how many shares are floating?

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

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