Baker Ellis Asset Management LLC cut its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 2.8% in the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 28,669 shares of the company’s stock after selling 828 shares during the period. Baker Ellis Asset Management LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $1,613,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently made changes to their positions in the business. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.7% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 194,144,317 shares of the company’s stock worth $12,442,709,000 after acquiring an additional 3,312,459 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.0% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 184,997,390 shares of the company’s stock worth $11,856,484,000 after buying an additional 1,834,500 shares during the last quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.1% during the second quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 27,019,572 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,731,684,000 after buying an additional 801,033 shares during the last quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 7.5% during the third quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 23,515,877 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,505,621,000 after buying an additional 1,631,013 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Boston Partners raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.8% during the third quarter. Boston Partners now owns 18,730,874 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,199,338,000 after buying an additional 145,744 shares during the last quarter. 74.79% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.
A number of research firms recently weighed in on MRK. Leerink Swann raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating in a research note on Monday. BMO Capital Markets set a $65.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, March 8th. Jefferies Group set a $56.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, February 26th. Morgan Stanley boosted their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $60.00 to $63.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 7th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group dropped their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $66.00 to $65.00 and set an “outperform” rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday, February 14th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $66.41.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE MRK) opened at $55.37 on Wednesday. The stock has a market cap of $149,290.00, a P/E ratio of 30.42, a P/E/G ratio of 2.27 and a beta of 0.81. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.62, a quick ratio of 1.06 and a current ratio of 1.33. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $53.12 and a 1-year high of $66.41.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.94 by $0.04. The firm had revenue of $10.43 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.48 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 6.40% and a return on equity of 28.61%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.89 earnings per share. equities analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.16 EPS for the current year.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 6th. Investors of record on Thursday, March 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.48 per share. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.47%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 105.49%.
Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its board has authorized a stock buyback plan on Tuesday, November 28th that authorizes the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are typically a sign that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.
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About Merck & Co., Inc.
Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services and Alliances. 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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