Worldquant Millennium Quantitative Strategies LLC purchased a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) in the 2nd quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The fund purchased 390,332 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $23,693,000. Merck & Co., Inc. comprises approximately 0.9% of Worldquant Millennium Quantitative Strategies LLC’s holdings, making the stock its 29th largest position.
Other large investors have also recently modified their holdings of the company. Rockland Trust Co. purchased a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $3,949,000. Sawyer & Company Inc lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.7% in the 2nd quarter. Sawyer & Company Inc now owns 22,984 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,395,000 after buying an additional 2,215 shares in the last quarter. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 37.0% in the 2nd quarter. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC now owns 122,748 shares of the company’s stock worth $7,451,000 after buying an additional 33,153 shares in the last quarter. Jennison Associates LLC lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 11.0% in the 2nd quarter. Jennison Associates LLC now owns 924,946 shares of the company’s stock worth $56,144,000 after buying an additional 91,879 shares in the last quarter. Finally, HL Financial Services LLC raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.7% during the 2nd quarter. HL Financial Services LLC now owns 217,281 shares of the company’s stock valued at $13,189,000 after purchasing an additional 1,540 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.31% of the company’s stock.
In other news, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. bought 666,666 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 1st. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $15.00 per share, for a total transaction of $9,999,990.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 279,850 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, October 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.07, for a total transaction of $20,168,789.50. Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now owns 971,800 shares in the company, valued at $70,037,626. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 929,360 shares of company stock worth $64,370,599 over the last quarter. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.
Merck & Co., Inc. stock opened at $72.35 on Friday. The firm has a market cap of $195.07 billion, a PE ratio of 17.23, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.23 and a beta of 0.81. The company has a current ratio of 1.33, a quick ratio of 1.04 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $52.83 and a 1-year high of $72.89.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its earnings results on Friday, July 27th. The company reported $1.06 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.03 by $0.03. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 3.67% and a return on equity of 32.68%. The business had revenue of $10.47 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.28 billion. During the same period last year, the business posted $1.01 EPS. Merck & Co., Inc.’s revenue was up 5.4% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, research analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.28 EPS for the current year.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 5th. Investors of record on Monday, September 17th were paid a $0.48 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, September 14th. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.65%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is presently 48.24%.
A number of research firms have recently weighed in on MRK. Citigroup set a $79.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 16th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 16th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday. Bank of America raised their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $74.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, July 30th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group raised their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $71.00 to $81.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Thursday, October 11th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fifteen have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $70.24.
About Merck & Co., Inc.
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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