Mackay Shields LLC Trims Position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

Mackay Shields LLC cut its position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 17.3% in the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 660,432 shares of the company’s stock after selling 138,433 shares during the period. Mackay Shields LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $60,066,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently made changes to their positions in MRK. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.3% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 191,863,408 shares of the company’s stock worth $16,087,745,000 after purchasing an additional 4,397,580 shares in the last quarter. Assenagon Asset Management S.A. increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 159.5% in the fourth quarter. Assenagon Asset Management S.A. now owns 2,082,074 shares of the company’s stock worth $189,365,000 after purchasing an additional 1,279,670 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.0% in the fourth quarter. State Street Corp now owns 116,493,884 shares of the company’s stock worth $10,665,449,000 after purchasing an additional 1,196,724 shares in the last quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 11.9% in the third quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 10,174,164 shares of the company’s stock worth $856,461,000 after purchasing an additional 1,080,016 shares in the last quarter. Finally, FMR LLC increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 7.1% in the fourth quarter. FMR LLC now owns 12,486,223 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,135,622,000 after purchasing an additional 822,959 shares in the last quarter. 70.50% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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

Shares of NYSE:MRK traded down $1.52 during midday trading on Friday, reaching $76.56. 27,906,590 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 11,476,944. The company has a current ratio of 1.26, a quick ratio of 0.98 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.84. The business’s fifty day moving average is $85.91 and its two-hundred day moving average is $86.02. Merck & Co., Inc. has a one year low of $72.23 and a one year high of $92.64. The stock has a market cap of $203.53 billion, a PE ratio of 20.09, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.04 and a beta of 0.57.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, February 5th. The company reported $1.16 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.15 by $0.01. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 21.01% and a return on equity of 48.76%. The firm had revenue of $11.87 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $11.71 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $1.04 earnings per share. Merck & Co., Inc.’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.9% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, sell-side analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 5.72 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, April 7th. Shareholders of record on Monday, March 16th will be given a dividend of $0.61 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, March 13th. This represents a $2.44 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.19%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 47.01%.

A number of brokerages have recently issued reports on MRK. ValuEngine cut shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 14th. Cantor Fitzgerald reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $95.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Wednesday, January 8th. UBS Group dropped their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $99.00 to $96.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research report on Thursday, February 6th. Morgan Stanley upped their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $90.00 to $95.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research report on Wednesday, November 13th. Finally, Mizuho restated a “buy” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Wednesday, February 5th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and fourteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $95.59.

Merck & Co., Inc. 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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