AQR Capital Management LLC Sells 359,583 Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

AQR Capital Management LLC trimmed its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRKFree Report) by 12.4% in the third quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The institutional investor owned 2,547,504 shares of the company’s stock after selling 359,583 shares during the period. Merck & Co., Inc. comprises 0.5% of AQR Capital Management LLC’s holdings, making the stock its 25th biggest position. AQR Capital Management LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $262,266,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

A number of other hedge funds also recently made changes to their positions in MRK. Financial Gravity Asset Management Inc. boosted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 32.2% during the second quarter. Financial Gravity Asset Management Inc. now owns 386 shares of the company’s stock worth $12,730,000 after purchasing an additional 94 shares during the period. Prosperity Financial Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.9% during the second quarter. Prosperity Financial Group Inc. now owns 3,365 shares of the company’s stock worth $388,000 after purchasing an additional 95 shares during the period. Per Stirling Capital Management LLC. boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.8% in the second quarter. Per Stirling Capital Management LLC. now owns 3,695 shares of the company’s stock valued at $426,000 after acquiring an additional 99 shares during the period. King Wealth grew its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.3% in the third quarter. King Wealth now owns 7,440 shares of the company’s stock valued at $766,000 after acquiring an additional 99 shares in the last quarter. Finally, LifePro Asset Management grew its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.3% in the third quarter. LifePro Asset Management now owns 7,669 shares of the company’s stock valued at $790,000 after acquiring an additional 100 shares in the last quarter. 74.59% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Wall Street Analyst Weigh In

A number of equities research analysts have recently weighed in on the stock. TD Cowen upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and lifted their price target for the company from $125.00 to $135.00 in a research report on Thursday, January 4th. UBS Group increased their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $135.00 to $148.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, February 2nd. Barclays raised their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $135.00 to $145.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, February 2nd. Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft started coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Thursday, November 9th. They set a “buy” rating and a $115.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, Cantor Fitzgerald reaffirmed an “overweight” rating and set a $135.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Thursday. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, fourteen have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. According to MarketBeat, Merck & Co., Inc. currently has an average rating of “Moderate Buy” and an average target price of $130.12.

Check Out Our Latest Report on Merck & Co., Inc.

Insider Transactions at Merck & Co., Inc.

In related news, insider Joseph Romanelli sold 1,000 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction on Tuesday, February 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $124.89, for a total value of $124,890.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 19,569 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,443,972.41. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. In related news, insider Joseph Romanelli sold 1,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, February 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $124.89, for a total value of $124,890.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 19,569 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,443,972.41. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Steven Mizell sold 50,694 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $126.65, for a total value of $6,420,395.10. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 23,619 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,991,346.35. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.20% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Merck & Co., Inc. Trading Up 0.3 %

NYSE MRK traded up $0.44 on Friday, hitting $127.59. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 2,216,177 shares, compared to its average volume of 7,438,458. The company’s 50-day moving average is $120.78 and its 200 day moving average is $110.55. The firm has a market cap of $323.14 billion, a PE ratio of 910.71, a PEG ratio of 1.66 and a beta of 0.38. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $99.14 and a 1-year high of $130.24. The company has a quick ratio of 1.12, a current ratio of 1.25 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.89.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRKGet Free Report) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, February 1st. The company reported $0.03 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of ($0.09) by $0.12. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 9.33% and a net margin of 0.61%. The business had revenue of $14.63 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $14.49 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $1.62 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.8% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 8.59 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Merck & Co., Inc. Dividend Announcement

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 5th. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 15th will be issued a $0.77 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, March 14th. This represents a $3.08 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.41%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is currently 2,200.00%.

About Merck & Co., Inc.

(Free Report)

Merck & Co, Inc operates as a healthcare company worldwide. It operates through two segments, Pharmaceutical and Animal Health. The Pharmaceutical segment offers human health pharmaceutical products in the areas of oncology, hospital acute care, immunology, neuroscience, virology, cardiovascular, and diabetes, as well as vaccine products, such as preventive pediatric, adolescent, and adult vaccines.

Further Reading

Want to see what other hedge funds are holding MRK? Visit HoldingsChannel.com to get the latest 13F filings and insider trades for Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRKFree Report).

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

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