River Road Asset Management LLC Lowers Holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

River Road Asset Management LLC cut its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 12.1% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The firm owned 207,100 shares of the company’s stock after selling 28,619 shares during the quarter. River Road Asset Management LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $16,106,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also bought and sold shares of MRK. Franklin Resources Inc. lifted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 20.6% in the 1st quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 35,455,780 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,733,289,000 after purchasing an additional 6,063,098 shares in the last quarter. LSV Asset Management increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 47.8% in the 2nd quarter. LSV Asset Management now owns 14,306,091 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,112,584,000 after acquiring an additional 4,628,832 shares during the last quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 57.3% in the 1st quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership now owns 6,464,738 shares of the company’s stock worth $498,367,000 after acquiring an additional 2,355,505 shares during the last quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 9.1% in the 1st quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 24,733,151 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,906,680,000 after acquiring an additional 2,063,255 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Mn Services Vermogensbeheer B.V. bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $121,681,000. 71.83% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

MRK has been the topic of a number of research reports. Morgan Stanley downgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and reduced their price objective for the stock from $90.00 to $85.00 in a research note on Tuesday, September 7th. SVB Leerink lifted their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $99.00 to $101.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Friday, July 30th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $105.00 to $100.00 and set an “overweight” rating on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, June 9th. Argus reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Thursday, May 20th. Finally, Truist started coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Tuesday, July 27th. They set a “buy” rating and a $92.00 target price on the stock. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the company. According to data from MarketBeat, the stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $91.09.

Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock opened at $72.01 on Wednesday. The stock’s fifty day moving average is $76.68 and its two-hundred day moving average is $76.59. The company has a market capitalization of $182.28 billion, a PE ratio of 32.93, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.16 and a beta of 0.41. The company has a quick ratio of 1.06, a current ratio of 1.31 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.72. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52 week low of $71.71 and a 52 week high of $86.30.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 28th. The company reported $1.31 EPS for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.31. The company had revenue of $11.40 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $11.21 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 50.93% and a net margin of 11.48%. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $1.37 EPS. As a group, research analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 5.51 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, October 7th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, September 15th will be given a $0.65 dividend. This represents a $2.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.61%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, September 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 43.77%.

Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile

Merck & Co, Inc engages in the provision of health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health, and consumer care products. It operates through the following segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, and Other. The Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

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