Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund increased its stake in Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 0.2% during the first quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 289,030 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 613 shares during the period. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund’s holdings in Merck & were worth $18,365,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Franklin Resources Inc. increased its position in Merck & by 1.6% in the fourth quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 28,800,338 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,695,480,000 after buying an additional 465,771 shares during the period. Norges Bank bought a new position in Merck & during the fourth quarter valued at $1,628,824,000. Dodge & Cox bought a new position in Merck & during the fourth quarter valued at $821,068,000. Macquarie Group Ltd. increased its position in Merck & by 4.1% in the fourth quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 12,753,649 shares of the company’s stock valued at $750,807,000 after buying an additional 506,952 shares during the period. Finally, Bank of Montreal Can increased its position in Merck & by 49.7% in the first quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 8,991,093 shares of the company’s stock valued at $571,295,000 after buying an additional 2,983,319 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.46% of the company’s stock.
Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE MRK) traded down 0.57% during trading on Friday, hitting $61.49. 8,421,689 shares of the company were exchanged. Merck & Company, Inc. has a 12 month low of $58.29 and a 12 month high of $66.80. The company has a 50-day moving average of $62.91 and a 200-day moving average of $63.83. The company has a market capitalization of $167.71 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 33.29 and a beta of 0.80.
Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.14. Merck & had a net margin of 17.14% and a return on equity of 26.02%. The company had revenue of $9.93 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.75 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.93 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts forecast that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.87 EPS for the current year.
The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 6th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 15th will be given a $0.47 dividend. This represents a $1.88 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.06%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 14th. Merck &’s payout ratio is currently 76.11%.
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Several research analysts recently weighed in on MRK shares. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) restated a “neutral” rating and set a $74.00 price target (up previously from $70.00) on shares of Merck & in a research report on Thursday, July 27th. Citigroup Inc. set a $65.00 price objective on shares of Merck & and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 5th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $73.00 price objective for the company in a report on Friday, May 26th. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Merck & from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 19th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies set a $70.00 price objective on shares of Merck & and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Saturday, July 29th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $69.58.
Merck & Company Profile
Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services and Alliances. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.
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