Seizert Capital Partners LLC Reduces Stock Position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

Seizert Capital Partners LLC lowered its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 21.8% during the 2nd quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The firm owned 14,813 shares of the company’s stock after selling 4,128 shares during the period. Seizert Capital Partners LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $1,242,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

A number of other hedge funds also recently modified their holdings of the stock. BlackRock Inc. boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 5.6% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 194,589,541 shares of the company’s stock worth $14,868,587,000 after purchasing an additional 10,315,510 shares during the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.4% in the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 34,032,366 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,596,161,000 after purchasing an additional 3,219,877 shares during the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.0% in the fourth quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 32,497,759 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,483,154,000 after purchasing an additional 951,911 shares during the last quarter. Norges Bank purchased a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the fourth quarter worth approximately $2,166,688,000. Finally, Janus Henderson Group PLC boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 7.8% in the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 24,839,949 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,082,840,000 after purchasing an additional 1,790,405 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 76.05% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock traded down $1.78 on Friday, hitting $84.94. 7,062,659 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 9,214,377. The company has a 50-day simple moving average of $83.52 and a 200-day simple moving average of $81.21. The stock has a market capitalization of $222.04 billion, a PE ratio of 19.57, a PEG ratio of 1.76 and a beta of 0.56. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1 year low of $66.10 and a 1 year high of $87.25. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82, a quick ratio of 0.92 and a current ratio of 1.21.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, July 30th. The company reported $1.30 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.16 by $0.14. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 21.10% and a return on equity of 43.34%. The company had revenue of $11.76 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.94 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $1.06 EPS. Merck & Co., Inc.’s revenue for the quarter was up 12.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.91 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 7th. Investors of record on Monday, September 16th will be paid a dividend of $0.55 per share. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.59%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, September 13th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 50.69%.

In related news, EVP Richard R. Deluca sold 6,427 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction on Friday, August 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.09, for a total transaction of $546,873.43. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 103,223 shares in the company, valued at approximately $8,783,245.07. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CFO Robert M. Davis sold 216,718 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction on Tuesday, June 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.43, for a total transaction of $18,514,218.74. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 354,378 shares in the company, valued at approximately $30,274,512.54. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.27% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

MRK has been the topic of several research reports. Atlantic Securities upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating in a report on Monday, May 13th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Bank of America set a $97.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 11th. Svb Leerink initiated coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Friday, August 16th. They set an “outperform” rating and a $103.00 price target on the stock. Argus lifted their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. to $105.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 7th. Finally, UBS Group lifted their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $87.00 to $88.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, May 2nd. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seventeen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co., Inc. presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $92.56.

About Merck & Co., Inc.

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, intra-abdominal, fungal infection, insomnia, and inflammatory diseases.

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

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