Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Stake Increased by Zacks Investment Management

Zacks Investment Management grew its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.7% in the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The fund owned 1,372,760 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 22,666 shares during the period. Merck & Co., Inc. accounts for about 1.8% of Zacks Investment Management’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 5th largest holding. Zacks Investment Management’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $83,327,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other institutional investors and hedge funds have also modified their holdings of the company. Rockland Trust Co. bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $3,949,000. Sawyer & Company Inc lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.7% in the 2nd quarter. Sawyer & Company Inc now owns 22,984 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,395,000 after buying an additional 2,215 shares during the last quarter. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 37.0% in the 2nd quarter. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC now owns 122,748 shares of the company’s stock worth $7,451,000 after buying an additional 33,153 shares during the last quarter. Jennison Associates LLC lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 11.0% in the 2nd quarter. Jennison Associates LLC now owns 924,946 shares of the company’s stock worth $56,144,000 after buying an additional 91,879 shares during the last quarter. Finally, HL Financial Services LLC lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.7% in the 2nd quarter. HL Financial Services LLC now owns 217,281 shares of the company’s stock worth $13,189,000 after buying an additional 1,540 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.31% of the company’s stock.

Shares of MRK stock opened at $72.21 on Friday. The company has a quick ratio of 1.04, a current ratio of 1.33 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61. Merck & Co., Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $52.83 and a fifty-two week high of $72.89. The company has a market capitalization of $193.64 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.10, a P/E/G ratio of 2.22 and a beta of 0.81.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 27th. The company reported $1.06 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.03. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 32.68% and a net margin of 3.67%. The firm had revenue of $10.47 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.28 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $1.01 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 5.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.28 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 5th. Shareholders of record on Monday, September 17th were given a $0.48 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, September 14th. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.66%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is currently 48.24%.

In other news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 228,091 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.00, for a total transaction of $14,825,915.00. Following the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 938,788 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $61,021,220. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, VP Rita A. Karachun sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.01, for a total value of $325,050.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 929,360 shares of company stock valued at $64,370,599 in the last quarter. Corporate insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

A number of analysts recently weighed in on the company. BMO Capital Markets restated a “buy” rating and issued a $70.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Sunday, July 22nd. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $79.00 target price for the company in a research report on Wednesday, September 26th. ValuEngine upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday. Jefferies Financial Group reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $59.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Sunday, July 15th. Finally, Bank of America boosted their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $74.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, July 30th. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fifteen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co., Inc. has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $70.24.

Merck & Co., Inc. Profile

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.

Further Reading: Stock Symbol

Want to see what other hedge funds are holding MRK? Visit HoldingsChannel.com to get the latest 13F filings and insider trades for Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK).

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

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