Cypress Capital Management LLC increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 10.0% during the fourth quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 245,787 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 22,250 shares during the period. Merck & Co. accounts for approximately 3.8% of Cypress Capital Management LLC’s holdings, making the stock its 4th largest position. Cypress Capital Management LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $14,469,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
A number of other large investors also recently modified their holdings of MRK. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 88.7% in the third quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD now owns 35,668,056 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,226,043,000 after buying an additional 16,764,608 shares in the last quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co. during the fourth quarter valued at $223,288,000. Swedbank bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co. during the third quarter valued at $135,119,000. Adage Capital Partners GP L.L.C. raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 59.5% in the third quarter. Adage Capital Partners GP L.L.C. now owns 5,147,943 shares of the company’s stock valued at $321,283,000 after buying an additional 1,921,350 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Standard Life Investments LTD raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 738.6% in the third quarter. Standard Life Investments LTD now owns 1,714,939 shares of the company’s stock valued at $106,995,000 after buying an additional 1,510,438 shares in the last quarter. 74.10% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) opened at 64.11 on Tuesday. The company has a market cap of $176.02 billion, a PE ratio of 45.47 and a beta of 0.79. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $64.81 and its 200 day moving average price is $62.39. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52 week low of $51.59 and a 52 week high of $66.80.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.89 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.89 by $0.00. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 24.08% and a net margin of 14.30%. The company had revenue of $10.10 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.22 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.93 EPS. Merck & Co.’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.0% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post $3.81 EPS for the current year.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 7th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, March 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.47 per share. This represents a $1.88 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.93%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, March 13th. Merck & Co.’s payout ratio is presently 92.61%.
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Several equities research analysts have weighed in on MRK shares. Vetr raised Merck & Co. from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $52.95 target price on the stock in a research report on Monday, January 2nd. Sanford C. Bernstein reaffirmed a “market perform” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Friday, February 24th. Jefferies Group LLC lowered Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to an “underperform” rating and set a $48.00 target price on the stock. in a research report on Monday, December 19th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Wednesday, January 11th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research raised Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $67.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, December 6th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and twelve have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $67.72.
In related news, EVP Michael J. Holston sold 91,959 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $63.96, for a total value of $5,881,697.64. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 105,559 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,751,553.64. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, Director Thomas R. Cech sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $63.42, for a total value of $317,100.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 5,100 shares in the company, valued at approximately $323,442. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 106,959 shares of company stock worth $6,843,448 in the last three months. 0.05% of the stock is owned by insiders.
Merck & Co. 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, which it markets directly and through its joint ventures. It operates through one segment, Pharmaceutical. 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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