Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Company LTD Increases Position in Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Company LTD grew its position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 5.3% during the third quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 277,087 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 13,841 shares during the period. Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Company LTD’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $17,741,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Perennial Advisors LLC grew its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.7% during the second quarter. Perennial Advisors LLC now owns 1,626 shares of the company’s stock worth $104,000 after buying an additional 157 shares in the last quarter. Stelac Advisory Services LLC bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the second quarter worth $104,000. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. lifted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 15.5% during the second quarter. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 1,727 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after purchasing an additional 232 shares during the last quarter. Solaris Asset Management LLC lifted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 6.3% during the second quarter. Solaris Asset Management LLC now owns 1,940 shares of the company’s stock worth $124,000 after purchasing an additional 115 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Harbour Capital Advisors LLC bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the first quarter worth $127,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 73.63% of the company’s stock.

In related news, Director Thomas H. Glocer sold 5,000 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $56.20, for a total value of $281,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.

Several equities research analysts have weighed in on the company. Zacks Investment Research cut Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 11th. Leerink Swann increased their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $69.00 to $70.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a research note on Monday, October 23rd. Jefferies Group reiterated a “sell” rating and issued a $55.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Friday, October 20th. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and set a $72.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Thursday, October 12th. Finally, Citigroup raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 target price for the company in a research report on Wednesday, October 18th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $66.06.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE MRK) opened at $58.66 on Friday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12 month low of $53.63 and a 12 month high of $66.80. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57, a quick ratio of 1.16 and a current ratio of 1.43. The stock has a market capitalization of $159,990.00, a PE ratio of 56.95, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.87 and a beta of 0.76.

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

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its board has authorized a share repurchase plan on Tuesday, November 28th that allows the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are generally a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, January 8th. Investors of record on Friday, December 15th were issued a $0.48 dividend. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.27%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, December 14th. This is a boost from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.47. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 186.41%.

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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.

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

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