Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) Shares Acquired by Sumitomo Life Insurance Co.

Sumitomo Life Insurance Co. increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 6.0% during the 4th quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The fund owned 81,064 shares of the company’s stock after acquiring an additional 4,566 shares during the quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. comprises approximately 0.8% of Sumitomo Life Insurance Co.’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 21st largest holding. Sumitomo Life Insurance Co.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $7,373,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

Other large investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Atwater Malick LLC acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the third quarter valued at approximately $57,000. 1 North Wealth Services LLC acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the third quarter valued at approximately $58,000. American National Bank acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the third quarter valued at approximately $67,000. Lenox Wealth Management Inc. raised its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 23.3% during the third quarter. Lenox Wealth Management Inc. now owns 793 shares of the company’s stock valued at $67,000 after buying an additional 150 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Balentine LLC raised its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 58.4% during the third quarter. Balentine LLC now owns 933 shares of the company’s stock valued at $79,000 after buying an additional 344 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 74.51% of the company’s stock.

In related news, EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 102,073 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, January 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $89.34, for a total value of $9,119,201.82. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 106,099 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $9,478,884.66. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Corporate insiders own 0.27% of the company’s stock.

Several analysts have issued reports on the company. UBS Group upped their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $94.00 to $99.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday. ValuEngine cut Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 14th. Morgan Stanley upped their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $90.00 to $95.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 13th. Royal Bank of Canada assumed coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Monday, January 6th. They set a “sector perform” rating and a $99.00 target price for the company. Finally, Mizuho reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $100.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Monday, January 6th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $96.38.

Shares of NYSE:MRK traded down $2.51 during trading on Friday, hitting $86.05. 672,674 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 6,815,827. The stock has a market capitalization of $228.25 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.06, a PEG ratio of 1.80 and a beta of 0.52. The business’s fifty day moving average is $90.26 and its 200-day moving average is $85.77. Merck & Co., Inc. has a one year low of $72.05 and a one year high of $92.64. The company has a quick ratio of 0.98, a current ratio of 1.26 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.84.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, October 29th. The company reported $1.51 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.24 by $0.27. The company had revenue of $12.40 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $11.59 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 48.16% and a net margin of 20.26%. The business’s revenue was up 14.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $1.19 earnings per share. On average, analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 5.16 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, January 8th. Investors of record on Monday, December 16th were issued a $0.61 dividend. This represents a $2.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.84%. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.55. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, December 13th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is 56.22%.

About Merck & Co., Inc.

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, intra-abdominal, fungal infection, insomnia, and inflammatory diseases.

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

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