Livforsakringsbolaget Skandia Omsesidigt reduced its stake in shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 57.0% during the first quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 79,743 shares of the company’s stock after selling 105,500 shares during the period. Livforsakringsbolaget Skandia Omsesidigt’s holdings in Merck & Company were worth $5,067,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Several other hedge funds have also recently bought and sold shares of the stock. JT Stratford LLC bought a new stake in Merck & Company during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $2,394,000. Amtrust Financial Services Inc. bought a new stake in Merck & Company during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $1,006,000. Macquarie Group Ltd. increased its stake in Merck & Company by 4.1% in the fourth quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 12,753,649 shares of the company’s stock valued at $750,807,000 after buying an additional 506,952 shares in the last quarter. RB Capital Management LLC bought a new stake in Merck & Company during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $263,000. Finally, Aspiriant LLC increased its stake in Merck & Company by 2.4% in the fourth quarter. Aspiriant LLC now owns 23,180 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,365,000 after buying an additional 549 shares in the last quarter. 73.82% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE MRK) opened at 63.16 on Monday. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $64.44 and its 200-day moving average price is $63.36. Merck & Company, Inc. has a 52 week low of $57.18 and a 52 week high of $66.80. The stock has a market cap of $172.75 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 40.25 and a beta of 0.81.
Merck & Company (NYSE:MRK) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, May 2nd. The company reported $0.88 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.83 by $0.05. The company had revenue of $9.43 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.25 billion. Merck & Company had a net margin of 15.32% and a return on equity of 24.99%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.89 EPS. Analysts expect that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.84 EPS for the current year.
The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 10th. Investors of record on Thursday, June 15th will be paid a $0.47 dividend. This represents a $1.88 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.98%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, June 13th. Merck & Company’s payout ratio is presently 85.84%.
Several analysts have commented on the company. Credit Suisse Group set a $72.00 price objective on Merck & Company and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, June 6th. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and set a $70.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Company in a research note on Sunday, April 23rd. BidaskClub raised Merck & Company from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, June 22nd. Vetr downgraded Merck & Company from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $69.99 price objective for the company. in a research note on Wednesday, May 17th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research raised Merck & Company from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Wednesday, May 10th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the company. Merck & Company has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $69.22.
In other Merck & Company news, Director C Robert Kidder sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, May 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $63.54, for a total transaction of $317,700.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 14,317 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $909,702.18. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 0.05% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.
About Merck & Company
Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services and Alliances. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.
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