Van Hulzen Asset Management LLC increased its stake in Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 2,358.9% during the fourth quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 78,512 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 75,319 shares during the quarter. Merck & Co. makes up 1.3% of Van Hulzen Asset Management LLC’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 21st largest holding. Van Hulzen Asset Management LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $4,418,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently modified their holdings of the company. American International Group Inc. boosted its position in Merck & Co. by 992.8% during the 4th quarter. American International Group Inc. now owns 9,152,305 shares of the company’s stock worth $515,000,000 after acquiring an additional 8,314,765 shares during the period. Janus Henderson Group PLC boosted its position in Merck & Co. by 172.3% during the 3rd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 6,705,564 shares of the company’s stock worth $429,347,000 after acquiring an additional 4,243,246 shares during the period. Capital International Investors boosted its position in Merck & Co. by 55.3% during the 3rd quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 9,623,382 shares of the company’s stock worth $616,185,000 after acquiring an additional 3,428,400 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in Merck & Co. by 1.7% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 194,144,317 shares of the company’s stock worth $12,442,709,000 after acquiring an additional 3,312,459 shares during the period. Finally, Stifel Financial Corp boosted its position in Merck & Co. by 95,700.4% during the 3rd quarter. Stifel Financial Corp now owns 3,281,163 shares of the company’s stock worth $210,016,000 after acquiring an additional 3,277,738 shares during the period. 74.62% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
In related news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 24,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, April 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $58.00, for a total value of $1,392,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director Wendell P. Weeks sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.57, for a total value of $267,850.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 5,100 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $273,207. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.32% of the stock is owned by insiders.
Shares of Merck & Co. stock opened at $60.25 on Tuesday. The stock has a market cap of $158,616.86, a PE ratio of 15.14, a PEG ratio of 2.44 and a beta of 0.77. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.62, a current ratio of 1.33 and a quick ratio of 1.06. Merck & Co. has a 52-week low of $52.83 and a 52-week high of $66.41.
Merck & Co. (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 the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.94 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $10.43 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.48 billion. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 28.61% and a net margin of 6.40%. The firm’s revenue was up 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $0.89 EPS. equities analysts expect that Merck & Co. will post 4.17 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
A number of equities research analysts have commented on MRK shares. Barclays upgraded Merck & Co. from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and raised their price objective for the stock from $62.00 to $64.00 in a research report on Thursday, April 5th. SunTrust Banks upgraded Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their price objective for the stock from $54.00 to $72.00 in a research report on Tuesday, January 16th. Goldman Sachs upgraded Merck & Co. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and decreased their price objective for the stock from $60.15 to $58.83 in a research report on Monday. ValuEngine upgraded Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 10th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets raised their price objective on Merck & Co. from $68.00 to $72.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 17th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and sixteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $65.82.
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About Merck & Co.
Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates in four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, asthma, nasal allergy symptoms, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, fungal, intra-abdominal infections, hypertension, arthritis and pain, inflammatory, osteoporosis, and fertility diseases.
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