Capital International Investors Raises Stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

Capital International Investors grew its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 2.7% in the fourth quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 39,628,116 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 1,034,782 shares during the quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. makes up approximately 1.2% of Capital International Investors’ investment portfolio, making the stock its 17th largest position. Capital International Investors’ holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $3,604,177,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently modified their holdings of the company. State Street Corp raised its holdings in 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. Janus Henderson Group PLC raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 16.5% in the fourth quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 28,954,215 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,633,372,000 after purchasing an additional 4,108,756 shares in the last quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.4% in the fourth quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 13,600,258 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,236,943,000 after purchasing an additional 191,393 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC raised its holdings in 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. Finally, Alliancebernstein L.P. raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 11.0% in the fourth quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 12,132,071 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,103,412,000 after purchasing an additional 1,204,495 shares in the last quarter. 75.74% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

A number of equities analysts have commented on MRK shares. Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a “sector perform” rating and issued a $92.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Thursday, February 6th. Barclays initiated coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Thursday, February 27th. They set an “overweight” rating and a $93.00 price objective on the stock. UBS Group cut their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $99.00 to $96.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a report on Thursday, February 6th. Cantor Fitzgerald restated a “buy” rating and set a $95.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Wednesday, January 8th. Finally, Mizuho restated a “buy” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Wednesday, February 5th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $94.50.

In related news, EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 102,073 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, January 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $89.34, for a total value of $9,119,201.82. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 106,099 shares in the company, valued at $9,478,884.66. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. 0.27% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

NYSE MRK traded up $3.78 during trading hours on Thursday, reaching $72.00. The stock had a trading volume of 6,040,411 shares, compared to its average volume of 18,445,974. The stock has a fifty day moving average of $79.60 and a 200 day moving average of $84.79. The stock has a market cap of $175.13 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.90, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.76 and a beta of 0.69. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52-week low of $65.25 and a 52-week high of $92.64. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.87, a quick ratio of 0.97 and a current ratio of 1.24.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, February 5th. The company reported $1.16 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.15 by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $11.87 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $11.71 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 49.41% and a net margin of 21.01%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.04 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 5.72 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, April 7th. Investors of record on Monday, March 16th will be given a $0.61 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, March 13th. This represents a $2.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.39%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 47.01%.

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.

See Also: Sell-Side Analysts

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

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