Sound Shore Management Inc CT Raises Stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

Sound Shore Management Inc CT increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRKGet Rating) by 0.9% during the 3rd quarter, Holdings Channel.com reports. The institutional investor owned 668,158 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 5,644 shares during the period. Merck & Co., Inc. accounts for about 2.3% of Sound Shore Management Inc CT’s portfolio, making the stock its 25th biggest position. Sound Shore Management Inc CT’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $57,542,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

A number of other institutional investors also recently bought and sold shares of the business. Cortland Associates Inc. MO raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.5% during the third quarter. Cortland Associates Inc. MO now owns 6,730 shares of the company’s stock worth $580,000 after purchasing an additional 101 shares during the last quarter. Janney Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.8% in the third quarter. Janney Capital Management LLC now owns 14,239 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,226,000 after buying an additional 109 shares during the last quarter. Stiles Financial Services Inc boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.3% in the second quarter. Stiles Financial Services Inc now owns 8,436 shares of the company’s stock worth $769,000 after buying an additional 110 shares during the last quarter. Mystic Asset Management Inc. grew its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.5% during the third quarter. Mystic Asset Management Inc. now owns 20,492 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,764,000 after acquiring an additional 110 shares during the period. Finally, Secure Asset Management LLC raised its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.4% during the second quarter. Secure Asset Management LLC now owns 30,185 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,752,000 after acquiring an additional 115 shares in the last quarter. 72.89% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Analysts Set New Price Targets

Several research firms have commented on MRK. Credit Suisse Group initiated coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Thursday, November 17th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $120.00 price objective on the stock. SVB Leerink increased their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $112.00 to $120.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Monday. Atlantic Securities lifted their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $116.00 to $122.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, October 28th. Cowen upped their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $108.00 to $120.00 in a research report on Tuesday, January 3rd. Finally, Bank of America upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their target price for the company from $110.00 to $130.00 in a research report on Wednesday, January 4th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, fourteen have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. According to MarketBeat.com, the company currently has a consensus rating of “Moderate Buy” and an average target price of $113.83.

Insider Activity

In related news, EVP Richard R. Deluca sold 164,557 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, October 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $100.26, for a total transaction of $16,498,484.82. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 136,977 shares in the company, valued at $13,733,314.02. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, insider Johannes Jacobus Oosthuizen sold 1,795 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $103.21, for a total value of $185,261.95. Following the sale, the insider now owns 16,731 shares in the company, valued at $1,726,806.51. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Richard R. Deluca sold 164,557 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, October 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $100.26, for a total value of $16,498,484.82. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 136,977 shares in the company, valued at approximately $13,733,314.02. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 1,165,809 shares of company stock valued at $118,007,120. 0.29% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Merck & Co., Inc. Stock Performance

MRK opened at $108.93 on Wednesday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a twelve month low of $72.88 and a twelve month high of $115.49. The firm has a market capitalization of $276.18 billion, a PE ratio of 18.06, a PEG ratio of 1.38 and a beta of 0.39. The company has a current ratio of 1.46, a quick ratio of 1.22 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.64. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $109.70 and its 200 day moving average price is $97.76.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRKGet Rating) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, October 27th. The company reported $1.85 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.67 by $0.18. The business had revenue of $14.96 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $14.05 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 46.57% and a net margin of 25.88%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 13.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $1.75 EPS. As a group, sell-side analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 7.4 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Merck & Co., Inc. Increases Dividend

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, January 9th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, December 15th were given a dividend of $0.73 per share. This is a boost from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.69. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, December 14th. This represents a $2.92 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.68%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is presently 48.59%.

Merck & Co., Inc. Profile

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Merck & Co, Inc operates as a healthcare company worldwide. It operates through two segments, Pharmaceutical and Animal Health. The Pharmaceutical segment offers human health pharmaceutical products in the areas of oncology, hospital acute care, immunology, neuroscience, virology, cardiovascular, and diabetes, as well as vaccine products, such as preventive pediatric, adolescent, and adult vaccines.

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

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