O Shaughnessy Asset Management LLC Increases Holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

O Shaughnessy Asset Management LLC increased its position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 452.2% in the 3rd quarter, according to its most recent filing with the SEC. The fund owned 138,649 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 113,541 shares during the period. O Shaughnessy Asset Management LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $10,425,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other institutional investors have also recently bought and sold shares of the company. PARK CIRCLE Co lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 100.0% in the 2nd quarter. PARK CIRCLE Co now owns 400 shares of the company’s stock valued at $31,000 after purchasing an additional 200 shares during the last quarter. Macroview Investment Management LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 47.4% in the 3rd quarter. Macroview Investment Management LLC now owns 426 shares of the company’s stock valued at $32,000 after purchasing an additional 137 shares during the last quarter. Itau Unibanco Holding S.A. purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter valued at about $37,000. Monumental Financial Group Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter valued at about $44,000. Finally, Strategic Asset Management LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 3rd quarter valued at about $44,000. 71.43% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Several research firms have commented on MRK. Berenberg Bank reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $92.00 price objective (up from $86.00) on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Sunday, October 10th. Daiwa Capital Markets began coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Thursday, December 16th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $70.00 price objective for the company. Guggenheim downgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $98.00 price objective for the company. in a research note on Tuesday, December 7th. Wells Fargo & Company began coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Wednesday, December 8th. They set an “overweight” rating and a $90.00 price objective for the company. Finally, Morgan Stanley reduced their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $88.00 to $82.00 and set an “equal weight” rating for the company in a research note on Monday, November 29th. Eight analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, nine have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. Based on data from MarketBeat.com, the stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $91.65.

MRK opened at $81.15 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of $204.98 billion, a P/E ratio of 28.63, a P/E/G ratio of 1.78 and a beta of 0.49. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.64, a current ratio of 1.31 and a quick ratio of 1.07. The stock’s 50 day simple moving average is $78.27 and its 200 day simple moving average is $77.98. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $70.89 and a 1-year high of $91.40.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 27th. The company reported $1.75 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.55 by $0.20. The business had revenue of $13.15 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $12.32 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 48.21% and a net margin of 14.64%. The company’s revenue was up 4.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.74 EPS. Research analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 5.8 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, January 7th. Investors of record on Wednesday, December 15th were issued a $0.69 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, December 14th. This represents a $2.76 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.40%. This is a boost from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.65. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 97.53%.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, insider Sanat Chattopadhyay sold 24,619 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, October 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $87.32, for a total transaction of $2,149,731.08. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Kenneth C. Frazier sold 663,881 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $82.26, for a total value of $54,610,851.06. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 936,784 shares of company stock worth $78,682,559. Insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

Merck & Co., Inc. Profile

Merck & Co, Inc engages in the provision of health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health, and consumer care products. It operates through the following segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, and Other. The Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products.

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

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