Jennison Associates LLC Reduces Holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

Jennison Associates LLC cut its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.0% during the 3rd quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The fund owned 1,924,365 shares of the company’s stock after selling 19,604 shares during the quarter. Jennison Associates LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $123,217,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other institutional investors have also modified their holdings of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.7% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 194,144,317 shares of the company’s stock worth $12,442,709,000 after purchasing an additional 3,312,459 shares in the last quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 71.5% in the 2nd quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership now owns 6,281,855 shares of the company’s stock worth $402,604,000 after purchasing an additional 2,618,435 shares in the last quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 40.4% in the 2nd quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 8,012,726 shares of the company’s stock worth $513,535,000 after purchasing an additional 2,304,142 shares in the last quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 36.3% in the 2nd quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 7,766,906 shares of the company’s stock worth $497,774,000 after purchasing an additional 2,070,487 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Janus Henderson Group PLC increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 509.6% in the 2nd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 2,462,318 shares of the company’s stock worth $157,812,000 after purchasing an additional 2,058,407 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.63% of the company’s stock.

A number of brokerages recently weighed in on MRK. ValuEngine raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday. Morgan Stanley cut Merck & Co., Inc. from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and set a $56.00 price target on the stock. in a research note on Monday, October 30th. UBS Group dropped their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $72.00 to $67.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, October 30th. BMO Capital Markets reissued an “outperform” rating and issued a $72.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Thursday, October 12th. Finally, Citigroup raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, October 18th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and twelve have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co., Inc. currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $66.29.

In related news, Director Thomas H. Glocer sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $56.20, for a total value of $281,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.

Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) opened at $57.60 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57, a quick ratio of 1.16 and a current ratio of 1.43. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12 month low of $53.63 and a 12 month high of $66.80. The firm has a market capitalization of $157,100.00, a PE ratio of 55.92, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.84 and a beta of 0.76.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its earnings results on Friday, October 27th. The company reported $1.11 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.08. Merck & Co., Inc. had a negative return on equity of 0.58% and a negative net margin of 0.49%. The company had revenue of $10.33 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.54 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $1.07 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 2.0% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 3.95 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, January 8th. Investors of record on Friday, December 15th were paid a $0.48 dividend. This is a boost from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.47. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, December 14th. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.33%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is presently 186.41%.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has approved a stock buyback plan on Tuesday, November 28th that permits the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are generally an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

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About Merck & Co., Inc.

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

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