New York State Common Retirement Fund Has $527.59 Million Holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

New York State Common Retirement Fund lowered its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.6% in the third quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The institutional investor owned 8,239,787 shares of the company’s stock after selling 135,265 shares during the period. Merck & Co., Inc. accounts for 0.7% of New York State Common Retirement Fund’s holdings, making the stock its 25th biggest position. New York State Common Retirement Fund’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $527,594,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other institutional investors also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Private Wealth Partners LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.8% during the 3rd quarter. Private Wealth Partners LLC now owns 241,310 shares of the company’s stock valued at $15,451,000 after purchasing an additional 1,834 shares during the last quarter. Dividend Assets Capital LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 29.1% during the 3rd quarter. Dividend Assets Capital LLC now owns 14,975 shares of the company’s stock valued at $959,000 after purchasing an additional 3,375 shares during the last quarter. Summit Financial Wealth Advisors LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 13.5% during the 3rd quarter. Summit Financial Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 18,632 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,193,000 after purchasing an additional 2,217 shares during the last quarter. First Eagle Investment Management LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 256.7% during the 3rd quarter. First Eagle Investment Management LLC now owns 27,790 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,779,000 after purchasing an additional 20,000 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Jarislowsky Fraser Ltd lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.9% during the 3rd quarter. Jarislowsky Fraser Ltd now owns 115,429 shares of the company’s stock valued at $7,390,000 after purchasing an additional 977 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 73.63% of the company’s stock.

Several analysts have recently commented on MRK shares. Bank of America started coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Tuesday, November 28th. They set a “buy” rating and a $64.00 price objective for the company. BMO Capital Markets set a $70.00 price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 18th. Sanford C. Bernstein reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $64.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Wednesday, November 15th. Jefferies Group lowered Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to an “underperform” rating in a report on Wednesday, November 1st. Finally, SunTrust Banks lowered Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, October 30th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $66.06.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) opened at $58.66 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57, a current ratio of 1.43 and a quick ratio of 1.16. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12-month low of $53.63 and a 12-month high of $66.80. The stock has a market capitalization of $159,990.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 56.95, a P/E/G ratio of 2.87 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 (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.08. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 27.08% and a net margin of 11.60%. The firm had revenue of $10.33 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.54 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $1.07 EPS. The firm’s revenue was down 2.0% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 3.95 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, January 8th. Investors of record on Friday, December 15th were given a $0.48 dividend. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.27%. This is an increase from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.47. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, December 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 186.41%.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock repurchase program on Tuesday, November 28th that authorizes the company to buyback $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are often a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, Director Thomas H. Glocer sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $56.20, for a total transaction of $281,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. 0.25% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

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

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