Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Company Ltd Trims Stock Position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Company Ltd lowered its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.0% in the 4th quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The fund owned 233,001 shares of the company’s stock after selling 2,348 shares during the quarter. Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Company Ltd’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $21,191,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

Other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Atwater Malick LLC bought a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $57,000. 1 North Wealth Services LLC bought a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $58,000. American National Bank bought a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $67,000. Lenox Wealth Management Inc. boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 23.3% in the 3rd quarter. Lenox Wealth Management Inc. now owns 793 shares of the company’s stock worth $67,000 after purchasing an additional 150 shares during the period. Finally, Balentine LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 58.4% in the 3rd quarter. Balentine LLC now owns 933 shares of the company’s stock worth $79,000 after purchasing an additional 344 shares during the period. 74.51% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

MRK traded down $2.77 during trading on Friday, reaching $85.79. The company had a trading volume of 9,139,321 shares, compared to its average volume of 6,815,827. The stock has a market cap of $228.25 billion, a P/E ratio of 23.96, a PEG ratio of 1.80 and a beta of 0.52. The business has a 50 day simple moving average of $90.26 and a 200-day simple moving average of $85.77. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52 week low of $72.05 and a 52 week high of $92.64. The company has a quick ratio of 0.98, a current ratio of 1.26 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.84.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 29th. The company reported $1.51 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.24 by $0.27. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 48.16% and a net margin of 20.26%. The company had revenue of $12.40 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $11.59 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $1.19 earnings per share. Merck & Co., Inc.’s revenue was up 14.9% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, equities research analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 5.16 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, January 8th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 16th were paid a $0.61 dividend. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.55. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, December 13th. This represents a $2.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.84%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 56.22%.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 102,073 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, January 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $89.34, for a total value of $9,119,201.82. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 106,099 shares in the company, valued at $9,478,884.66. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Company insiders own 0.27% of the company’s stock.

A number of research analysts have recently commented on the company. Royal Bank of Canada assumed coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Monday, January 6th. They set a “sector perform” rating and a $99.00 target price for the company. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $96.00 target price on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 10th. Bank of America assumed coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Wednesday, October 16th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $90.00 target price for the company. Mizuho reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $100.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Monday, January 6th. Finally, UBS Group increased their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $94.00 to $99.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $96.38.

Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile

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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