Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Company Ltd Trims Stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Company Ltd reduced its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.0% in the 4th quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 233,001 shares of the company’s stock after selling 2,348 shares during the quarter. Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Company Ltd’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $21,191,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other hedge funds also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Ibex Wealth Advisors increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 8.1% in the fourth quarter. Ibex Wealth Advisors now owns 46,974 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,272,000 after buying an additional 3,529 shares in the last quarter. Sumitomo Life Insurance Co. increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 6.0% in the fourth quarter. Sumitomo Life Insurance Co. now owns 81,064 shares of the company’s stock valued at $7,373,000 after buying an additional 4,566 shares in the last quarter. Ferris Capital LLC increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 15.0% in the fourth quarter. Ferris Capital LLC now owns 4,310 shares of the company’s stock valued at $392,000 after buying an additional 561 shares in the last quarter. Advisor Partners LLC increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 9.1% during the fourth quarter. Advisor Partners LLC now owns 99,273 shares of the company’s stock worth $9,087,000 after purchasing an additional 8,283 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Acima Private Wealth LLC increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.5% during the fourth quarter. Acima Private Wealth LLC now owns 5,901 shares of the company’s stock worth $537,000 after purchasing an additional 200 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 74.51% of the company’s stock.

In related news, EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 102,073 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, January 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $89.34, for a total transaction of $9,119,201.82. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 106,099 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $9,478,884.66. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. 0.27% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several brokerages recently commented on MRK. Bank of America began coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Wednesday, October 16th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $90.00 price target for the company. Royal Bank of Canada began coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Monday, January 6th. They set a “sector perform” rating and a $99.00 price target for the company. Mizuho reissued a “buy” rating and set a $100.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Monday, January 6th. Cantor Fitzgerald reissued a “buy” rating and set a $95.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Wednesday, January 8th. Finally, ValuEngine lowered Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 14th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $96.38.

MRK traded down $2.77 during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $85.79. 9,139,321 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 6,815,827. The firm’s fifty day moving average is $90.26 and its two-hundred day moving average is $85.77. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $72.05 and a 1-year high of $92.64. The company has a current ratio of 1.26, a quick ratio of 0.98 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.84. The company has a market cap of $228.25 billion, a PE ratio of 23.96, a PEG ratio of 1.80 and a beta of 0.52.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, October 29th. The company reported $1.51 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.24 by $0.27. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 48.16% and a net margin of 20.26%. The firm had revenue of $12.40 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $11.59 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.19 EPS. Merck & Co., Inc.’s revenue was up 14.9% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, research analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 5.16 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, January 8th. Investors of record on Monday, December 16th were paid a dividend of $0.61 per share. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.55. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, December 13th. This represents a $2.44 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.84%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 56.22%.

Merck & Co., Inc. Profile

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, intra-abdominal, fungal infection, insomnia, and inflammatory diseases.

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

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