Capital International Sarl trimmed its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK – Get Rating) by 3.4% during the first quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 42,471 shares of the company’s stock after selling 1,473 shares during the quarter. Capital International Sarl’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $3,485,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
A number of other large investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in MRK. Covestor Ltd acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the fourth quarter worth $66,000. Equitable Holdings Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 5.2% during the fourth quarter. Equitable Holdings Inc. now owns 31,993 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,452,000 after purchasing an additional 1,576 shares during the period. Advisor Resource Council acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the fourth quarter worth $378,000. Charles Schwab Investment Management Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 5.5% during the fourth quarter. Charles Schwab Investment Management Inc. now owns 29,002,620 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,222,762,000 after purchasing an additional 1,500,754 shares during the period. Finally, Eagle Strategies LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the fourth quarter worth $1,284,000. 73.33% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.
Analyst Ratings Changes
A number of analysts recently weighed in on the stock. Atlantic Securities increased their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $105.00 to $110.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 13th. Berenberg Bank raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and increased their price objective for the stock from $95.00 to $100.00 in a report on Wednesday. Mizuho assumed coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Friday, June 24th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $100.00 price objective on the stock. Erste Group Bank raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, August 25th. Finally, SVB Leerink increased their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $105.00 to $109.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Monday. Seven research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, eleven have issued a buy rating and two have issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. According to data from MarketBeat.com, the company presently has a consensus rating of “Moderate Buy” and an average price target of $98.28.
Merck & Co., Inc. Stock Performance
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK – Get Rating) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, July 28th. The company reported $1.87 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.67 by $0.20. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 29.00% and a return on equity of 48.45%. The company had revenue of $14.59 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $13.85 billion. During the same period last year, the company posted $1.31 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 28.0% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 7.32 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
Merck & Co., Inc. Announces Dividend
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 7th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 15th will be issued a $0.69 dividend. This represents a $2.76 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.17%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, September 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 42.27%.
About Merck & Co., Inc.
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.
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