First Interstate Bank Purchases 379 Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

First Interstate Bank raised its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.6% in the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 23,996 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 379 shares during the period. First Interstate Bank’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $2,183,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

Several other hedge funds have also recently modified their holdings of MRK. BancorpSouth Bank raised its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.1% in the third quarter. BancorpSouth Bank now owns 50,676 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,266,000 after buying an additional 1,538 shares in the last quarter. First Hawaiian Bank increased its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 45.5% in the 4th quarter. First Hawaiian Bank now owns 37,968 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,453,000 after acquiring an additional 11,876 shares during the period. Nomura Holdings Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 260.4% in the 3rd quarter. Nomura Holdings Inc. now owns 801,905 shares of the company’s stock valued at $67,143,000 after acquiring an additional 579,388 shares during the period. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. grew its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 5.2% in the third quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. now owns 2,519,127 shares of the company’s stock valued at $212,060,000 after purchasing an additional 123,617 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Ashburton Jersey Ltd grew its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.4% in the third quarter. Ashburton Jersey Ltd now owns 210,924 shares of the company’s stock valued at $17,756,000 after purchasing an additional 750 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 74.50% of the company’s stock.

MRK has been the topic of several recent analyst reports. Mizuho reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Wednesday, February 5th. Cantor Fitzgerald reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $95.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Wednesday, January 8th. Royal Bank of Canada restated a “sector perform” rating and set a $92.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Thursday, February 6th. UBS Group dropped their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $99.00 to $96.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research note on Thursday, February 6th. Finally, Morgan Stanley upped their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $90.00 to $95.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Wednesday, November 13th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $95.75.

In related news, EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 102,073 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction dated Monday, January 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $89.34, for a total transaction of $9,119,201.82. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 106,099 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $9,478,884.66. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Company insiders own 0.27% of the company’s stock.

MRK stock traded up $0.17 during midday trading on Friday, reaching $82.14. The stock had a trading volume of 1,839,394 shares, compared to its average volume of 11,022,104. The stock has a market cap of $218.09 billion, a PE ratio of 21.56, a P/E/G ratio of 2.18 and a beta of 0.57. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.84, a quick ratio of 0.98 and a current ratio of 1.26. The firm has a fifty day simple moving average of $88.70 and a two-hundred day simple moving average of $86.14. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52-week low of $72.23 and a 52-week high of $92.64.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, February 5th. The company reported $1.16 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.15 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $11.87 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $11.71 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 48.76% and a net margin of 21.01%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 7.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $1.04 EPS. On average, sell-side analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 5.74 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, April 7th. Stockholders of record on Monday, March 16th will be paid a $0.61 dividend. This represents a $2.44 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.97%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, March 13th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 47.01%.

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.

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

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