Employees Retirement System of Texas cut its holdings in shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 48.3% in the 4th quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 260,000 shares of the company’s stock after selling 242,800 shares during the period. Employees Retirement System of Texas’ holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $14,630,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Wedbush Securities Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 37.6% in the 4th quarter. Wedbush Securities Inc. now owns 41,084 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,312,000 after acquiring an additional 11,222 shares during the last quarter. Trustcore Financial Services LLC bought a new position in shares of Merck & Co. in the 4th quarter valued at $1,799,000. Valeo Financial Advisors LLC lifted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 38.0% in the 4th quarter. Valeo Financial Advisors LLC now owns 36,116 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,032,000 after acquiring an additional 9,950 shares during the last quarter. Mariner Wealth Advisors LLC lifted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 37.6% in the 4th quarter. Mariner Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 56,311 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,168,000 after acquiring an additional 15,381 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Ferris Capital LLC lifted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 5.0% in the 4th quarter. Ferris Capital LLC now owns 41,061 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,310,000 after acquiring an additional 1,956 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 74.60% of the company’s stock.
NYSE MRK opened at $58.65 on Tuesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $154,141.17, a P/E ratio of 14.74, a P/E/G ratio of 2.41 and a beta of 0.77. Merck & Co. has a twelve month low of $52.83 and a twelve month high of $66.41. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.62, a current ratio of 1.33 and a quick ratio of 1.06.
The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, April 6th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 15th were issued a dividend of $0.48 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, March 14th. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.27%. Merck & Co.’s payout ratio is currently 48.24%.
In other Merck & Co. news, Director Wendell P. Weeks sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.57, for a total transaction of $267,850.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 5,100 shares in the company, valued at approximately $273,207. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Company insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.
A number of brokerages have recently commented on MRK. Jefferies Group set a $56.00 price target on Merck & Co. and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $65.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Monday. Leerink Swann dropped their price target on Merck & Co. from $69.00 to $67.00 and set a “market perform” rating for the company in a research note on Tuesday, February 6th. Morgan Stanley increased their price target on Merck & Co. from $60.00 to $63.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 7th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group dropped their price target on Merck & Co. from $66.00 to $65.00 and set an “outperform” rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday, February 14th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $66.53.
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About Merck & Co.
Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates in four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, asthma, nasal allergy symptoms, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, fungal, intra-abdominal infections, hypertension, arthritis and pain, inflammatory, osteoporosis, and fertility diseases.
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