Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) Shares Bought by Washington Capital Management Inc.

Washington Capital Management Inc. grew its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 0.5% in the second quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 27,938 shares of the company’s stock after acquiring an additional 144 shares during the period. Merck & Co., Inc. comprises about 2.7% of Washington Capital Management Inc.’s holdings, making the stock its 3rd biggest position. Washington Capital Management Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $2,343,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other hedge funds also recently bought and sold shares of the company. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 5.6% during the 4th 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. Geode Capital Management LLC raised its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.4% during the 4th 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. Northern Trust Corp raised its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.0% during the 4th quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 32,497,759 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,483,154,000 after purchasing an additional 951,911 shares during the last quarter. Norges Bank acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter worth approximately $2,166,688,000. Finally, Janus Henderson Group PLC raised its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 7.8% during the 2nd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 24,839,949 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,082,840,000 after purchasing an additional 1,790,405 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 76.05% of the company’s stock.

In other news, CFO Robert M. Davis sold 216,718 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, June 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.43, for a total transaction of $18,514,218.74. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 354,378 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $30,274,512.54. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, EVP Richard R. Deluca sold 6,427 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, August 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.09, for a total transaction of $546,873.43. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 103,223 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $8,783,245.07. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.27% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several brokerages recently issued reports on MRK. Citigroup lifted their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $84.00 to $95.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, June 21st. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Morgan Stanley boosted their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $84.00 to $90.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, June 21st. UBS Group boosted their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $87.00 to $88.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, May 2nd. BMO Capital Markets boosted their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $83.00 to $84.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a report on Wednesday, May 1st. Finally, Svb Leerink assumed coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Friday, August 16th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $103.00 price target for the company. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seventeen have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $92.56.

Shares of NYSE MRK traded down $1.78 during trading on Friday, hitting $84.94. 7,062,659 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 9,214,377. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1 year low of $66.10 and a 1 year high of $87.25. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $83.52 and a 200-day moving average price of $81.21. The firm has a market capitalization of $222.04 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.57, a P/E/G ratio of 1.76 and a beta of 0.56. The company has a quick ratio of 0.92, a current ratio of 1.21 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 30th. The company reported $1.30 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.16 by $0.14. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 21.10% and a return on equity of 43.34%. The company had revenue of $11.76 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.94 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $1.06 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 12.4% compared to the same quarter last year. Research analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.91 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 7th. Stockholders of record on Monday, September 16th will be paid a dividend of $0.55 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, September 13th. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.59%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 50.69%.

About Merck & Co., Inc.

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.

Further Reading: What is the Coverage Ratio?

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

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