L & S Advisors Inc cut its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 11.2% in the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 135,610 shares of the company’s stock after selling 17,170 shares during the period. Merck & Co., Inc. comprises approximately 1.5% of L & S Advisors Inc’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 7th biggest position. L & S Advisors Inc’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $11,371,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.
Several other large investors also recently made changes to their positions in MRK. Bessemer Group Inc. raised its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 973.1% during the fourth quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 770,416 shares of the company’s stock valued at $58,866,000 after buying an additional 698,622 shares during the period. NS Partners Ltd purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the fourth quarter valued at about $206,000. Pitcairn Co. grew its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 97.7% in the fourth quarter. Pitcairn Co. now owns 42,450 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,243,000 after purchasing an additional 20,974 shares in the last quarter. JOYN Advisors Inc. grew its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 14.4% in the fourth quarter. JOYN Advisors Inc. now owns 7,156 shares of the company’s stock valued at $547,000 after purchasing an additional 902 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Sound View Wealth Advisors LLC purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the fourth quarter valued at about $3,654,000. Institutional investors own 75.36% of the company’s stock.
In related news, CFO Robert M. Davis sold 216,718 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, June 25th. The stock was 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 owns 354,378 shares in the company, valued at approximately $30,274,512.54. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Richard R. Deluca sold 6,427 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.09, for a total value of $546,873.43. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 103,223 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $8,783,245.07. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.27% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
A number of research analysts have commented on the company. Morgan Stanley boosted their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $84.00 to $90.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Friday, June 21st. Mizuho reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $97.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Sunday, September 8th. Goldman Sachs Group began coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, May 28th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $85.00 price target for the company. Bank of America set a $97.00 price target on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 11th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. upped their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $90.00 to $93.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research note on Friday, June 14th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eighteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. Merck & Co., Inc. currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $93.29.
Shares of NYSE:MRK opened at $83.13 on Friday. The business has a 50 day moving average price of $84.76 and a 200 day moving average price of $81.88. Merck & Co., Inc. has a twelve month low of $66.10 and a twelve month high of $87.35. The company has a market cap of $209.16 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.15, a PEG ratio of 1.66 and a beta of 0.53. 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 earnings results on Tuesday, July 30th. The company reported $1.30 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.16 by $0.14. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 43.34% and a net margin of 21.10%. The firm had revenue of $11.76 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.94 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.06 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 12.4% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.91 EPS for the current year.
The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 7th. Investors of record on Monday, September 16th will be paid a dividend of $0.55 per share. The ex-dividend date is Friday, September 13th. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.65%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 50.69%.
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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