Russell Investments Group Ltd. boosted its stake in Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 8.3% during the first quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the SEC. The fund owned 4,099,447 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 315,903 shares during the period. Merck & makes up approximately 0.5% of Russell Investments Group Ltd.’s holdings, making the stock its 25th largest position. Russell Investments Group Ltd. owned 0.15% of Merck & worth $260,569,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.
Other hedge funds have also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Intellectus Partners LLC purchased a new stake in Merck & during the fourth quarter valued at about $103,000. Gradient Investments LLC boosted its stake in Merck & by 41.3% in the first quarter. Gradient Investments LLC now owns 2,306 shares of the company’s stock valued at $147,000 after buying an additional 674 shares in the last quarter. Pinnacle Bank purchased a new stake in Merck & during the first quarter valued at about $152,000. Tortoise Investment Management LLC boosted its stake in Merck & by 50.6% in the fourth quarter. Tortoise Investment Management LLC now owns 2,678 shares of the company’s stock valued at $158,000 after buying an additional 900 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Thomas J. Herzfeld Advisors Inc. purchased a new stake in Merck & during the fourth quarter valued at about $159,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 73.73% of the company’s stock.
Shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) traded down 0.83% during midday trading on Tuesday, reaching $62.32. 7,635,494 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. The stock has a market cap of $170.46 billion, a PE ratio of 33.74 and a beta of 0.80. Merck & Company, Inc. has a 12-month low of $58.29 and a 12-month high of $66.80. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $63.66 and its 200-day moving average is $63.77.
Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.14. Merck & had a net margin of 17.14% and a return on equity of 25.75%. The business had revenue of $9.93 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.75 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.93 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts expect that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.87 EPS for the current year.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 6th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 15th will be paid a $0.47 dividend. This represents a $1.88 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.02%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. Merck &’s dividend payout ratio is currently 76.11%.
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Several research firms have issued reports on MRK. Credit Suisse Group set a $72.00 target price on shares of Merck & and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, June 6th. BidaskClub cut shares of Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, July 11th. BMO Capital Markets reiterated an “outperform” rating and issued a $70.00 target price on shares of Merck & in a research note on Sunday, April 23rd. Vetr cut shares of Merck & from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $69.99 price objective on the stock. in a research report on Wednesday, May 17th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, May 10th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the stock. Merck & has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $69.80.
In other news, Director C Robert Kidder sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, May 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $63.54, for a total value of $317,700.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 14,317 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $909,702.18. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.
About Merck &
Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services and Alliances. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.
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