Nisa Investment Advisors LLC Acquires 10,060 Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

Nisa Investment Advisors LLC increased its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 0.9% in the 3rd quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The firm owned 1,112,496 shares of the company’s stock after acquiring an additional 10,060 shares during the quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. makes up approximately 0.7% of Nisa Investment Advisors LLC’s holdings, making the stock its 24th largest holding. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $78,920,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Several other institutional investors have also modified their holdings of MRK. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.5% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 185,546,933 shares of the company’s stock valued at $11,262,699,000 after buying an additional 831,243 shares in the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 9.2% in the second quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 38,653,047 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,346,241,000 after buying an additional 3,242,430 shares in the last quarter. Morgan Stanley increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.9% in the second quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 15,905,834 shares of the company’s stock valued at $965,485,000 after buying an additional 149,438 shares in the last quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 19.5% in the second quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 14,733,548 shares of the company’s stock valued at $894,326,000 after buying an additional 2,406,836 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Janus Henderson Group PLC grew its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 41.8% in the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 12,486,915 shares of the company’s stock valued at $757,959,000 after purchasing an additional 3,682,328 shares during the period. 72.32% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Several analysts have recently issued reports on the stock. Wolfe Research assumed coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Tuesday, October 23rd. They issued an “outperform” rating on the stock. BMO Capital Markets reiterated 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 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $79.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, September 26th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 18th. Finally, Citigroup lifted their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $79.00 to $84.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 31st. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. Merck & Co., Inc. currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $71.92.

In related news, SVP Ashley Watson sold 47,036 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, October 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $74.33, for a total transaction of $3,496,185.88. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 32,990 shares in the company, valued at $2,452,146.70. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, insider Roger M. Perlmutter sold 225,443 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.27, for a total transaction of $16,969,094.61. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 366,998 shares in the company, valued at $27,623,939.46. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 1,279,104 shares of company stock worth $92,845,846 over the last 90 days. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Shares of NYSE MRK opened at $74.86 on Friday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52-week low of $52.83 and a 52-week high of $75.99. The stock has a market capitalization of $202.43 billion, a PE ratio of 17.54, a P/E/G ratio of 2.04 and a beta of 0.73. The company has a current ratio of 1.44, a quick ratio of 1.04 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.14 by $0.05. The firm had revenue of $10.79 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.87 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 8.44% and a return on equity of 34.48%. Research analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Investors of record on Monday, December 17th will be given a dividend of $0.55 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 14th. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.94%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is presently 48.24%.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its board has authorized a share repurchase program on Thursday, October 25th that allows the company to buyback $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to repurchase up to 5.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are typically a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

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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.

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

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