Candriam Luxembourg S.C.A. cut its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 10.6% during the 4th quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The institutional investor owned 529,969 shares of the company’s stock after selling 62,726 shares during the quarter. Candriam Luxembourg S.C.A.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $29,824,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Several other institutional investors and hedge funds have also bought and sold shares of the company. Honeywell International Inc. grew its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.8% in the third quarter. Honeywell International Inc. now owns 633,700 shares of the company’s stock worth $40,576,000 after purchasing an additional 100,500 shares during the period. D.A. Davidson & CO. grew its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.3% in the third quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 524,481 shares of the company’s stock worth $33,582,000 after purchasing an additional 81,290 shares during the period. Train Babcock Advisors LLC grew its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 19.8% in the fourth quarter. Train Babcock Advisors LLC now owns 10,810 shares of the company’s stock worth $609,000 after purchasing an additional 1,785 shares during the period. Ascension Asset Management LLC purchased a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the fourth quarter worth $644,000. Finally, Mork Capital Management LLC purchased a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the fourth quarter worth $990,000. 74.63% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
Several equities research analysts recently weighed in on the company. Jefferies Group set a $55.00 price target on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, March 23rd. BMO Capital Markets set a $65.00 price target on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday. Leerink Swann reduced their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $69.00 to $67.00 and set a “market perform” rating on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, February 6th. Morgan Stanley increased their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $60.00 to $63.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 7th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group cut their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $66.00 to $65.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, February 14th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the company. Merck & Co., Inc. currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $66.47.
Shares of NYSE:MRK opened at $53.36 on Friday. The firm has a market cap of $147,050.20, a PE ratio of 13.41, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.30 and a beta of 0.78. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.62, a quick ratio of 1.06 and a current ratio of 1.33. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1 year low of $52.83 and a 1 year high of $66.41.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.94 by $0.04. The firm had revenue of $10.43 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.48 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 28.61% and a net margin of 6.40%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.89 earnings per share. research analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.16 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, April 6th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, March 15th were issued a dividend of $0.48 per share. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.60%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, March 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is currently 48.24%.
In other news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, January 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $58.00, for a total transaction of $290,000.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 101,484 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $5,886,072. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total value of $3,697,800.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 101,484 shares in the company, 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 $5,026,025. Corporate insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.
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About Merck & Co., Inc.
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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