UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 2.7% during the second quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 8,291,626 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 220,534 shares during the period. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. owned 0.30% of Merck & Co. worth $477,680,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently made changes to their positions in MRK. Americafirst Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of Merck & Co. during the second quarter valued at approximately $115,000. NewSquare Capital LLC increased its stake in Merck & Co. by 14.2% in the second quarter. NewSquare Capital LLC now owns 2,104 shares of the company’s stock worth $121,000 after buying an additional 261 shares in the last quarter. First New York Securities LLC NY bought a new stake in Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth about $121,000. QCI Asset Management Inc. NY increased its stake in Merck & Co. by 1.1% in the second quarter. QCI Asset Management Inc. NY now owns 2,382 shares of the company’s stock worth $137,000 after buying an additional 27 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Lowe fs LLC increased its stake in Merck & Co. by 1.8% in the second quarter. Lowe fs LLC now owns 2,619 shares of the company’s stock worth $151,000 after buying an additional 46 shares in the last quarter. 72.93% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded up 1.1447% on Thursday, hitting $62.3658. 3,032,387 shares of the stock traded hands. Merck & Co. has a 52-week low of $47.97 and a 52-week high of $64.86. The stock has a market cap of $172.45 billion, a P/E ratio of 34.2105 and a beta of 0.68. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $62.58 and its 200 day moving average price is $58.61.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last released its earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate 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 business’s revenue was up .6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.86 EPS. On average, equities analysts expect that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, September 15th were issued a $0.46 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.98%. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 101.10%.
MRK has been the subject of a number of research analyst reports. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and set a $62.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Tuesday, June 28th. Vetr raised shares of Merck & Co. from a “sell” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $62.26 price objective for the company in a report on Monday, July 4th. Credit Suisse Group AG reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $59.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Wednesday, July 6th. Leerink Swann reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $58.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Thursday, July 14th. Finally, Jefferies Group lifted their price objective on shares of Merck & Co. from $50.00 to $53.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, July 14th. Twelve analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co. has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of €64.74 ($71.93).
In related news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated 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 transaction, the insider now owns 128,973 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately €8,005,354.11 ($8,894,837.90). The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 39,200 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of €62.61 ($69.57), for a total transaction of €2,454,312.00 ($2,727,013.33). Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 39,200 shares in the company, valued at approximately €2,454,312 ($2,727,013.33). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.05% of the stock is currently owned by 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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