TCW Group Inc. Raises Position in Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

TCW Group Inc. increased its position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 0.8% during the 3rd quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 3,105,609 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 24,563 shares during the quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. comprises about 1.6% of TCW Group Inc.’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 15th biggest position. TCW Group Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $198,853,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently modified their holdings of the stock. Teacher Retirement System of Texas increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 11.6% in the 3rd quarter. Teacher Retirement System of Texas now owns 1,831,746 shares of the company’s stock valued at $117,287,000 after purchasing an additional 190,270 shares in the last quarter. Advisor Group Inc. increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 13.6% in the 3rd quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 217,653 shares of the company’s stock valued at $13,940,000 after purchasing an additional 26,040 shares in the last quarter. First National Trust Co. increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.2% in the 3rd quarter. First National Trust Co. now owns 206,356 shares of the company’s stock valued at $13,213,000 after purchasing an additional 4,431 shares in the last quarter. Los Angeles Capital Management & Equity Research Inc. increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.7% in the 3rd quarter. Los Angeles Capital Management & Equity Research Inc. now owns 1,535,896 shares of the company’s stock valued at $98,343,000 after purchasing an additional 148,609 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Capital Analysts LLC increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.8% in the 3rd quarter. Capital Analysts LLC now owns 59,754 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,826,000 after purchasing an additional 1,074 shares in the last quarter. 73.68% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Several analysts recently issued reports on MRK shares. Cowen reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $70.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Friday, November 3rd. BMO Capital Markets set a $68.00 price target on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, December 13th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $70.00 price target on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Sunday, October 29th. ValuEngine upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 10th. Finally, Jefferies Group restated a “sell” rating and set a $55.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Friday, October 20th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and ten have given a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $66.06.

In related news, Director Thomas H. Glocer sold 5,000 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $56.20, for a total value of $281,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. 0.25% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) opened at $58.66 on Tuesday. The company has a market capitalization of $159,815.47, a PE ratio of 35.13, a P/E/G ratio of 2.93 and a beta of 0.76. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52 week low of $53.63 and a 52 week high of $66.80. The company has a quick ratio of 1.16, a current ratio of 1.43 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Friday, October 27th. The company reported $1.11 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.08. The business had revenue of $10.33 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.54 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 27.08% and a net margin of 11.60%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 2.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm earned $1.07 earnings per share. analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 3.95 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, January 8th. Investors of record on Friday, December 15th were paid a $0.48 dividend. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.27%. This is an increase from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.47. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, December 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 114.97%.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its board has approved a share buyback program on Tuesday, November 28th that permits the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are typically a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

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

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