Daiwa Securities Group Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 4.3% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The firm owned 141,176 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 5,810 shares during the period. Daiwa Securities Group Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $8,133,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
A number of other large investors have also recently modified their holdings of the stock. Orbis Allan Gray Ltd purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co. during the first quarter valued at about $239,761,000. NN Investment Partners Holdings N.V. purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co. during the first quarter valued at about $174,068,000. Los Angeles Capital Management & Equity Research Inc. increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 249.7% in the first quarter. Los Angeles Capital Management & Equity Research Inc. now owns 2,288,444 shares of the company’s stock valued at $121,082,000 after buying an additional 1,634,004 shares during the period. OMERS ADMINISTRATION Corp purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co. during the first quarter valued at about $67,685,000. Finally, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 326.5% in the first quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 1,626,461 shares of the company’s stock valued at $86,056,000 after buying an additional 1,245,129 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.93% of the company’s stock.
Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded down 3.08% during trading on Tuesday, hitting $61.93. 13,955,380 shares of the stock were exchanged. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $62.68 and its 200 day moving average price is $58.56. The firm has a market capitalization of $171.25 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 33.97 and a beta of 0.68. Merck & Co. has a 52 week low of $47.97 and a 52 week high of $64.86.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $9.84 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.79 billion. Merck & Co. had a net margin of 13.01% and a return on equity of 23.41%. Merck & Co.’s revenue was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.86 EPS. On average, equities analysts predict that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 earnings per share for the current year.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 15th were paid a $0.46 dividend. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.97%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, September 13th. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 101.10%.
Several brokerages have issued reports on MRK. Argus restated a “buy” rating and set a $65.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Wednesday, September 14th. BMO Capital Markets restated a “market perform” rating and set a $62.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Tuesday, August 2nd. Jefferies Group raised their price objective on shares of Merck & Co. from $50.00 to $53.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 14th. Piper Jaffray Cos. restated a “neutral” rating and set a $62.00 price objective (up from $58.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Monday, August 8th. Finally, Leerink Swann restated a “hold” rating and set a $58.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Thursday, July 14th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have assigned a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of €63.37 ($70.41).
In other Merck & Co. news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of the 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 sale, the insider now directly owns 128,973 shares in the company, valued at approximately €8,005,354.11 ($8,894,837.90). The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 5th. The stock was 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 sale, the chairman now owns 760,877 shares in the company, valued at €47,029,807.37 ($52,255,341.52). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.05% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.
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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