Blume Capital Management Inc. lessened its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 9.0% during the second quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The institutional investor owned 2,100 shares of the company’s stock after selling 207 shares during the quarter. Blume Capital Management Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $163,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission.
A number of other large investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in MRK. Franklin Resources Inc. boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 20.6% during the 1st quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 35,455,780 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,733,289,000 after purchasing an additional 6,063,098 shares during the period. LSV Asset Management boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 47.8% during the 2nd quarter. LSV Asset Management now owns 14,306,091 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,112,584,000 after purchasing an additional 4,628,832 shares during the period. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 57.3% during the 1st quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership now owns 6,464,738 shares of the company’s stock worth $498,367,000 after purchasing an additional 2,355,505 shares during the period. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 9.1% during the 1st quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 24,733,151 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,906,680,000 after purchasing an additional 2,063,255 shares during the period. Finally, Mn Services Vermogensbeheer B.V. acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth $121,681,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 71.83% of the company’s stock.
Several research firms have commented on MRK. SVB Leerink upped their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $99.00 to $101.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Friday, July 30th. Morgan Stanley cut shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and dropped their price objective for the company from $90.00 to $85.00 in a research note on Tuesday, September 7th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. dropped their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $105.00 to $100.00 and set an “overweight” rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, June 9th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $82.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, August 24th. Finally, Truist Securities initiated coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, July 27th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $76.79 price objective on the stock. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Based on data from MarketBeat.com, the company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $91.09.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, July 28th. The company reported $1.31 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.31. The company had revenue of $11.40 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $11.21 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 11.48% and a return on equity of 50.93%. During the same period last year, the company posted $1.37 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 5.51 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, October 7th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, September 15th will be issued a $0.65 dividend. This represents a $2.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.57%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, September 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 43.77%.
About Merck & Co., Inc.
Merck & Co, Inc engages in the provision of health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health, and consumer care products. It operates through the following segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, and Other. The Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products.
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