Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) Stake Decreased by First Financial Bank Trust Division

First Financial Bank Trust Division reduced its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.3% during the first quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor owned 109,126 shares of the company’s stock after selling 1,469 shares during the quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. accounts for about 1.4% of First Financial Bank Trust Division’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 23rd largest holding. First Financial Bank Trust Division’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $9,076,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

Other hedge funds have also modified their holdings of the company. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 17,936.7% during the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 53,150,490 shares of the company’s stock valued at $696,000 after purchasing an additional 52,855,811 shares in the last quarter. Norges Bank purchased a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the fourth quarter worth $2,166,688,000. Jennison Associates LLC raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 323.1% in the fourth quarter. Jennison Associates LLC now owns 15,777,286 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,205,542,000 after purchasing an additional 12,048,406 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 5.6% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 194,589,541 shares of the company’s stock worth $14,868,587,000 after purchasing an additional 10,315,510 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.4% in the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 34,032,366 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,596,161,000 after purchasing an additional 3,219,877 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 75.17% of the company’s stock.

In other news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 192,736 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, March 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $82.05, for a total value of $15,813,988.80. Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now owns 990,451 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $81,266,504.55. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. acquired 4,121,683 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, April 8th. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $16.00 per share, with a total value of $65,946,928.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders sold 445,308 shares of company stock valued at $36,421,320. Corporate insiders own 0.27% of the company’s stock.

Several research analysts have recently weighed in on the company. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $93.00 price target for the company in a research note on Monday, April 1st. Cantor Fitzgerald restated a “buy” rating and issued a $95.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Friday, March 29th. Goldman Sachs Group assumed coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, May 28th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $85.00 price target for the company. BMO Capital Markets restated a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, February 19th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, May 3rd. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $83.08.

NYSE MRK opened at $83.71 on Thursday. The stock has a market capitalization of $213.61 billion, a PE ratio of 19.29, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.96 and a beta of 0.55. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82, a current ratio of 1.37 and a quick ratio of 1.06. Merck & Co., Inc. has a twelve month low of $59.80 and a twelve month high of $84.27.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, April 30th. The company reported $1.22 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.05 by $0.17. The firm had revenue of $10.82 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.45 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 39.85% and a net margin of 19.50%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 7.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $1.05 earnings per share. Equities research analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.72 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 8th. Stockholders of record on Monday, June 17th will be paid a $0.55 dividend. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.63%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, June 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 50.69%.

ILLEGAL ACTIVITY WARNING: “Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) Stake Decreased by First Financial Bank Trust Division” was first posted by WKRB News and is the sole property of of WKRB News. If you are reading this piece of content on another publication, it was copied illegally and reposted in violation of United States and international copyright & trademark laws. The legal version of this piece of content can be read at https://www.wkrb13.com/2019/06/13/merck-co-inc-nysemrk-stake-decreased-by-first-financial-bank-trust-division.html.

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.

See Also: What is a capital gains distribution?

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)

Receive News & Ratings for Merck & Co. Inc. Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Merck & Co. Inc. and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.