Systematic Financial Management LP Cuts Position in Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

Systematic Financial Management LP cut its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 5.2% in the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 118,114 shares of the company’s stock after selling 6,461 shares during the period. Systematic Financial Management LP’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $7,570,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

A number of other large investors also recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Franklin Resources Inc. boosted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.1% during the second quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 27,019,572 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,731,684,000 after buying an additional 801,033 shares during the period. Legal & General Group Plc raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.3% during the second quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 14,564,388 shares of the company’s stock valued at $933,445,000 after acquiring an additional 192,348 shares during the last quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.6% during the first quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC now owns 13,414,669 shares of the company’s stock valued at $852,368,000 after acquiring an additional 77,344 shares during the last quarter. Sanders Capital LLC raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 4.0% during the second quarter. Sanders Capital LLC now owns 12,052,595 shares of the company’s stock valued at $835,462,000 after acquiring an additional 458,950 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Swiss National Bank raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.0% during the second quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 10,697,901 shares of the company’s stock valued at $685,628,000 after acquiring an additional 307,300 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 73.84% of the company’s stock.

In other news, Director Thomas H. Glocer sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $56.20, for a total transaction of $281,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE MRK) traded down $0.45 during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $55.77. 11,837,100 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 9,650,887. Merck & Co., Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $53.63 and a fifty-two week high of $66.80. The company has a market capitalization of $148,010.00, a P/E ratio of 14.45, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.60 and a beta of 0.76. The company has a quick ratio of 1.16, a current ratio of 1.43 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Friday, October 27th. The company reported $1.11 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.08. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 11.60% and a return on equity of 27.08%. The business had revenue of $10.33 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.54 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $1.07 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 2.0% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 3.95 earnings per share for the current year.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock buyback program on Tuesday, November 28th that authorizes the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are typically a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, January 8th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.48 per share. This is a boost from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.47. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, December 14th. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.44%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 182.52%.

MRK has been the subject of several recent analyst reports. BMO Capital Markets set a $70.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 18th. Citigroup raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Wednesday, October 18th. J P Morgan Chase & Co set a $70.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Sunday, October 29th. UBS lowered their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $72.00 to $67.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research note on Monday, October 30th. Finally, Sanford C. Bernstein reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $64.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Wednesday, November 15th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $66.29.

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Merck & Co., Inc. Profile

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.

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

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