New York State Common Retirement Fund Has $527.59 Million Stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

New York State Common Retirement Fund cut its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.6% in the 3rd quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 8,239,787 shares of the company’s stock after selling 135,265 shares during the period. Merck & Co., Inc. makes up about 0.7% of New York State Common Retirement Fund’s portfolio, making the stock its 25th biggest holding. New York State Common Retirement Fund owned approximately 0.30% of Merck & Co., Inc. worth $527,594,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently made changes to their positions in MRK. Honeywell International Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.8% during the 3rd quarter. Honeywell International Inc. now owns 633,700 shares of the company’s stock worth $40,576,000 after buying an additional 100,500 shares in the last quarter. Hanson McClain Inc. grew its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 65.0% during the 2nd quarter. Hanson McClain Inc. now owns 7,662 shares of the company’s stock worth $491,000 after acquiring an additional 3,019 shares during the last quarter. Trust Co grew its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.8% during the 1st quarter. Trust Co now owns 68,789 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,371,000 after acquiring an additional 1,852 shares during the last quarter. Hartland & Co. LLC grew its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 9.5% during the 2nd quarter. Hartland & Co. LLC now owns 44,558 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,856,000 after acquiring an additional 3,861 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Crescent Grove Advisors LLC bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth $1,092,000. 73.24% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

A number of equities research analysts recently weighed in on the company. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $70.00 price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Sunday, October 29th. Berenberg Bank restated a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Wednesday, November 1st. Bank of America assumed coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Tuesday, November 28th. They set a “buy” rating and a $64.00 price objective on the stock. ValuEngine lowered Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday. Finally, Sanford C. Bernstein reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $64.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Wednesday, November 15th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $66.59.

In other news, EVP Michael J. Holston sold 12,500 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, January 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total value of $770,375.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, January 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total value of $3,697,800.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 101,484 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $6,254,458.92. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 82,500 shares of company stock worth $5,039,175. 0.25% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE MRK) traded down $2.16 during trading on Monday, hitting $56.40. The company had a trading volume of 19,212,388 shares, compared to its average volume of 12,510,000. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52 week low of $53.63 and a 52 week 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 company has a market cap of $153,820.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 60.65, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.70 and a beta of 0.75.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.94 by $0.04. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 27.73% and a net margin of 6.40%. The company had revenue of $10.43 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.48 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.89 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.1% compared to the same quarter last year. analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.11 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 6th. Investors of record on Thursday, March 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.48 per share. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.40%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, March 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 206.45%.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase program on Tuesday, November 28th that authorizes the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is 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.

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

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