Davis R M Inc. grew its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 0.8% during the 4th quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 282,199 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 2,153 shares during the period. Davis R M Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $25,666,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other institutional investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.3% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 191,863,408 shares of the company’s stock worth $16,087,745,000 after acquiring an additional 4,397,580 shares during the last quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.5% in the third quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 11,408,929 shares of the company’s stock valued at $960,404,000 after buying an additional 171,403 shares during the period. Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.2% in the third quarter. Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. now owns 10,846,593 shares of the company’s stock valued at $913,066,000 after buying an additional 338,355 shares during the period. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.4% in the third quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 10,253,759 shares of the company’s stock valued at $863,162,000 after buying an additional 39,180 shares during the period. Finally, California Public Employees Retirement System raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 11.9% in the third quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 10,174,164 shares of the company’s stock valued at $856,461,000 after buying an additional 1,080,016 shares during the period. 74.51% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Shares of MRK traded down $1.16 during mid-day trading on Thursday, reaching $88.49. 664,887 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 6,443,652. The firm has a market cap of $229.06 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.75, a P/E/G ratio of 1.79 and a beta of 0.52. The stock has a fifty day simple moving average of $90.27 and a 200 day simple moving average of $85.75. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12-month low of $72.05 and a 12-month 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 quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 29th. The company reported $1.51 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.24 by $0.27. The company had revenue of $12.40 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $11.59 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 20.26% and a return on equity of 48.16%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 14.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.19 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 5.16 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, January 8th. Stockholders of record on Monday, December 16th were paid a dividend of $0.61 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, December 13th. This represents a $2.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.76%. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.55. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 56.22%.

Several research firms recently commented on MRK. UBS Group raised their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $94.00 to $99.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday. Morgan Stanley raised their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $90.00 to $95.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Wednesday, November 13th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $96.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, October 10th. Royal Bank of Canada began coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Monday, January 6th. They issued a “sector perform” rating and a $99.00 price target on the stock. Finally, Bank of America began coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Wednesday, October 16th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $90.00 price target on the stock. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $96.38.

In other news, EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 102,073 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, January 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $89.34, for a total transaction of $9,119,201.82. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 106,099 shares in the company, valued at $9,478,884.66. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Company insiders own 0.27% of the company’s stock.

Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile

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.

Further Reading: Price to Earnings Ratio (PE) Basics

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

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