Rational Advisors LLC Grows Position in Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

Rational Advisors LLC lifted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 56.3% during the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 37,495 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 13,500 shares during the quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. makes up 1.1% of Rational Advisors LLC’s holdings, making the stock its 10th largest holding. Rational Advisors LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $2,110,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.7% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 194,144,317 shares of the company’s stock worth $12,442,709,000 after purchasing an additional 3,312,459 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. lifted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.0% in the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 184,997,390 shares of the company’s stock worth $11,856,484,000 after purchasing an additional 1,834,500 shares in the last quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. lifted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 7.5% in the 3rd quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 23,515,877 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,505,621,000 after purchasing an additional 1,631,013 shares in the last quarter. Boston Partners lifted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.8% in the 3rd quarter. Boston Partners now owns 18,730,874 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,199,338,000 after purchasing an additional 145,744 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Legal & General Group Plc lifted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.7% in the 3rd quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 14,660,131 shares of the company’s stock worth $938,669,000 after purchasing an additional 95,743 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 74.63% of the company’s stock.

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MRK has been the topic of several research analyst reports. SunTrust Banks upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and boosted their price target for the stock from $54.00 to $72.00 in a research note on Tuesday, January 16th. BMO Capital Markets set a $68.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 16th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 10th. DZ Bank upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, February 13th. Finally, Morgan Stanley boosted their price target on shares of 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. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the company. Merck & Co., Inc. presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $66.47.

In related news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, January 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total transaction of $3,697,800.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 101,484 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,254,458.92. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, January 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $58.00, for a total transaction of $290,000.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 101,484 shares in the company, valued at $5,886,072. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 82,500 shares of company stock worth $5,026,025 over the last quarter. 0.25% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Merck & Co., Inc. stock opened at $53.36 on Monday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a twelve month low of $52.83 and a twelve month high of $66.41. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.62, a quick ratio of 1.06 and a current ratio of 1.33. The stock has a market capitalization of $143,868.70, a PE ratio of 13.41, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.25 and a beta of 0.78.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly 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. The company had revenue of $10.43 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.48 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 6.40% and a return on equity of 28.61%. The firm’s revenue was up 3.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.89 EPS. equities analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.16 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, April 6th. Investors of record on Thursday, March 15th were issued a dividend of $0.48 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, March 14th. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.60%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 48.24%.

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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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