First Command Bank trimmed its position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 2.9% during the first quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 9,119 shares of the company’s stock after selling 274 shares during the quarter. First Command Bank’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $703,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Norges Bank bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the fourth quarter valued at $2,250,767,000. Nuveen Asset Management LLC raised its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 20.4% in the 4th quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 24,251,965 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,983,811,000 after purchasing an additional 4,112,158 shares during the last quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System raised its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 31.6% in the 4th quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 13,542,412 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,107,769,000 after buying an additional 3,252,367 shares during the last quarter. Morgan Stanley raised its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 16.7% in the 4th quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 22,569,366 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,846,174,000 after buying an additional 3,221,509 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. grew its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 25.8% during the 4th quarter. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. now owns 11,822,416 shares of the company’s stock valued at $967,060,000 after purchasing an additional 2,428,079 shares during the period. 72.86% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
Separately, Cantor Fitzgerald reissued an “overweight” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Friday, February 5th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $96.27.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, February 3rd. The company reported $1.32 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.38 by ($0.06). The firm had revenue of $12.51 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $12.65 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 53.83% and a net margin of 24.33%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $1.16 EPS. As a group, research analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 5.9 EPS for the current year.
The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, April 7th. Investors of record on Monday, March 15th were issued a $0.65 dividend. This represents a $2.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.28%. The ex-dividend date was Friday, March 12th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 50.10%.
Merck & Co., Inc. Profile
Merck & Co, Inc operates as a healthcare company worldwide. It operates through two segments, Pharmaceutical and Animal Health segments. The Pharmaceutical segment offers human health pharmaceutical products in the areas of oncology, hospital acute care, immunology, neuroscience, virology, cardiovascular, diabetes, and women's health, as well as and vaccine products.
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