River Wealth Advisors LLC reduced its position in Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 6.8% during the second quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 16,348 shares of the company’s stock after selling 1,195 shares during the period. River Wealth Advisors LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $942,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.
Other large investors also recently bought and sold shares of the company. BlackRock Fund Advisors increased its stake 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 stake 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 stake 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. Boston Partners increased its stake 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. Finally, Legal & General Group Plc increased its stake in Merck & Co. by 1.1% in the first quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 13,626,514 shares of the company’s stock worth $720,986,000 after buying an additional 152,049 shares during the period. 72.93% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded up 0.81% during trading on Friday, reaching $62.41. 13,605,282 shares of the company traded hands. Merck & Co. has a 52 week low of $47.97 and a 52 week high of $64.00. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $62.76 and a 200 day moving average of $58.03. The stock has a market capitalization of $172.58 billion, a PE ratio of 34.23 and a beta of 0.63.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $9.84 billion for 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 firm’s revenue was up .6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.86 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts predict that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 EPS for the current year.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 7th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th will be given a dividend of $0.46 per share. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.95%. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 101.10%.
A number of equities research analysts have recently issued reports on the stock. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reissued a “neutral” rating and set a $60.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Wednesday, June 8th. Piper Jaffray Cos. reissued a “neutral” rating and set a $62.00 price objective (up previously from $58.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Monday, August 8th. Argus reissued a “buy” rating and set a $65.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Wednesday, September 14th. Jefferies Group reissued a “hold” rating and set a $56.00 price objective (down previously from $57.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Monday, September 12th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets downgraded shares of Merck & Co. from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $62.00 price objective for the company. in a research report on Monday, July 18th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have given a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of €63.20 ($70.23).
In related news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 45,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, July 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of €57.99 ($64.43), for a total transaction of €2,609,550.00 ($2,899,500.00). Following the sale, the insider now owns 123,151 shares in the company, valued at €7,141,526.49 ($7,935,029.43). The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CEO Kenneth C. Frazier sold 60,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, July 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of €58.00 ($64.44), for a total transaction of €3,480,000.00 ($3,866,666.67). Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 554,856 shares in the company, valued at approximately €32,181,648 ($35,757,386.67). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.
About Merck & Co.
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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