First Interstate Bank raised its stake in Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 4.5% during the second quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 17,060 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 734 shares during the period. First Interstate Bank’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $983,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.
A number of other large investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in MRK. Americafirst Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth approximately $115,000. First New York Securities LLC NY purchased a new position in Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth approximately $121,000. NewSquare Capital LLC boosted its position 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 during the last quarter. QCI Asset Management Inc. NY boosted its position 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 during the last quarter. Finally, Lowe fs LLC boosted its position 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 during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 72.93% of the company’s stock.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) opened at 61.52 on Tuesday. The company has a 50-day moving average of $62.53 and a 200-day moving average of $58.84. Merck & Co. has a 12 month low of $47.97 and a 12 month high of $64.86. The company has a market cap of $170.12 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 33.75 and a beta of 0.68.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. The firm earned $9.84 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.79 billion. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 23.41% and a net margin of 13.01%. Merck & Co.’s quarterly revenue was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.86 earnings per share. Analysts predict that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 EPS for the current year.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th were given a $0.46 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.99%. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 101.10%.
A number of research analysts have recently commented on the stock. Piper Jaffray Cos. reissued a “neutral” rating and set a $62.00 target price (up from $58.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Monday, August 8th. Vetr cut shares of Merck & Co. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $64.84 price target on the stock. in a report on Monday, October 10th. Bank of America Corp. raised shares of Merck & Co. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their price target for the company from $57.00 to $70.00 in a report on Thursday, October 13th. Argus reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $65.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Wednesday, September 14th. Finally, Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $56.00 price target (down from $57.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Monday, September 12th. Thirteen research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of €65.58 ($72.06).
In related news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, August 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of €61.81 ($67.92), for a total value of €24,229,520.00 ($26,625,846.15). Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 760,877 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €47,029,807.37 ($51,681,107). The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, October 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of €62.07 ($68.21), for a total value of €2,532,456.00 ($2,782,918.68). Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 128,973 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €8,005,354.11 ($8,797,092.43). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.05% of the stock is owned by corporate 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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