Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) is Financial Counselors Inc.’s 7th Largest Position

Financial Counselors Inc. lowered its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 6.5% during the third quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The institutional investor owned 422,657 shares of the company’s stock after selling 29,365 shares during the period. Merck & Co., Inc. makes up 1.3% of Financial Counselors Inc.’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 7th biggest position. Financial Counselors Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $29,983,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

A number of other institutional investors also recently modified their holdings of MRK. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.5% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 185,546,933 shares of the company’s stock valued at $11,262,699,000 after acquiring an additional 831,243 shares during the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 9.2% during the second quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 38,653,047 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,346,241,000 after acquiring an additional 3,242,430 shares during the last quarter. Morgan Stanley raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.9% during the second quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 15,905,834 shares of the company’s stock valued at $965,485,000 after acquiring an additional 149,438 shares during the last quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 19.5% during the second quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 14,733,548 shares of the company’s stock valued at $894,326,000 after acquiring an additional 2,406,836 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Janus Henderson Group PLC raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 41.8% during the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 12,486,915 shares of the company’s stock valued at $757,959,000 after acquiring an additional 3,682,328 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.29% of the company’s stock.

Shares of NYSE MRK opened at $79.34 on Monday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a twelve month low of $52.83 and a twelve month high of $79.49. The firm has a market cap of $213.92 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.93, a PEG ratio of 2.16 and a beta of 0.73. The company has a quick ratio of 1.15, a current ratio of 1.44 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.14 by $0.05. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 8.44% and a return on equity of 34.48%. The business had revenue of $10.79 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.87 billion. On average, research analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Investors of record on Monday, December 17th will be paid a dividend of $0.55 per share. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.77%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, December 14th. This is an increase from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 48.24%.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its board has approved a share repurchase program on Thursday, October 25th that authorizes the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to purchase up to 5.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are usually a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

Several equities analysts have recently issued reports on the stock. Citigroup raised their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $79.00 to $84.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 31st. SunTrust Banks raised their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $77.00 to $80.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, October 29th. Wolfe Research assumed coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, October 23rd. They set an “outperform” rating for the company. BMO Capital Markets raised their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $82.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Monday, October 22nd. Finally, ValuEngine raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, October 18th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $73.65.

In other news, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. bought 666,666 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 1st. The stock was acquired at an average price of $15.00 per share, with a total value of $9,999,990.00. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, SVP Ashley Watson sold 47,036 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction on Wednesday, October 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $74.33, for a total transaction of $3,496,185.88. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 32,990 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,452,146.70. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 1,279,104 shares of company stock valued at $92,845,846 in the last three months. 0.32% of the stock is owned by insiders.

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About Merck & Co., Inc.

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates in four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, asthma, nasal allergy symptoms, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, fungal, intra-abdominal infections, hypertension, arthritis and pain, inflammatory, osteoporosis, and fertility diseases.

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

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