Prudential Financial Inc. reduced its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 3.1% during the 3rd quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 5,251,998 shares of the company’s stock after selling 169,240 shares during the period. Merck & Co., Inc. makes up approximately 0.6% of Prudential Financial Inc.’s portfolio, making the stock its 29th biggest position. Prudential Financial Inc. owned about 0.19% of Merck & Co., Inc. worth $336,285,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently modified their holdings of MRK. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.7% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 194,144,317 shares of the company’s stock worth $12,442,709,000 after buying an additional 3,312,459 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.0% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 184,997,390 shares of the company’s stock valued at $11,856,484,000 after purchasing an additional 1,834,500 shares in the last quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.1% in the second quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 27,019,572 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,731,684,000 after purchasing an additional 801,033 shares in the last quarter. Legal & General Group Plc boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.3% in the second quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 14,564,388 shares of the company’s stock valued at $933,445,000 after purchasing an additional 192,348 shares in the last quarter. Finally, FMR LLC boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.3% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 13,134,739 shares of the company’s stock valued at $841,805,000 after purchasing an additional 171,411 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.68% of the company’s stock.
Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE MRK) opened at $58.66 on Tuesday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12 month low of $53.63 and a 12 month high of $66.80. The company has a current ratio of 1.43, a quick ratio of 1.16 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57. The firm has a market capitalization of $159,990.00, a P/E ratio of 56.95, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.93 and a beta of 0.76.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, January 8th. Investors of record on Friday, December 15th were given a dividend of $0.48 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, December 14th. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.27%. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.47. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is currently 186.41%.
Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock repurchase plan on Tuesday, November 28th that allows the company to buyback $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are generally a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.
A number of equities analysts recently issued reports on MRK shares. BMO Capital Markets set a $70.00 price target on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 11th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $70.00 price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Sunday, October 29th. Citigroup upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 price target for the company in a research note on Wednesday, October 18th. UBS Group cut their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $72.00 to $67.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research note on Monday, October 30th. Finally, Sanford C. Bernstein restated a “buy” rating and set a $64.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Wednesday, November 15th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and ten have given a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $66.06.
In related news, Director Thomas H. Glocer sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $56.20, for a total transaction of $281,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.
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Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile
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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