State of Wisconsin Investment Board Has $199.53 Million Position in Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

State of Wisconsin Investment Board boosted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 4.5% during the 4th quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The fund owned 3,545,910 shares of the company’s stock after acquiring an additional 151,402 shares during the quarter. State of Wisconsin Investment Board’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $199,528,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

A number of other large investors have also recently modified their holdings of MRK. RFG Advisory Group LLC raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 9.1% during the fourth quarter. RFG Advisory Group LLC now owns 14,602 shares of the company’s stock worth $827,000 after purchasing an additional 1,220 shares in the last quarter. First Allied Advisory Services Inc. raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.7% during the fourth quarter. First Allied Advisory Services Inc. now owns 67,912 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,810,000 after purchasing an additional 1,107 shares in the last quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 16.6% during the fourth quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 611,488 shares of the company’s stock worth $34,408,000 after purchasing an additional 87,007 shares in the last quarter. Ausdal Financial Partners Inc. raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 36.8% during the fourth quarter. Ausdal Financial Partners Inc. now owns 6,966 shares of the company’s stock worth $392,000 after purchasing an additional 1,873 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Independence Bank of Kentucky acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the fourth quarter worth approximately $942,000. 74.63% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

In related news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total value of $3,697,800.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 101,484 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,254,458.92. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 5,000 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction on Friday, January 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $58.00, for a total transaction of $290,000.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 101,484 shares in the company, valued at $5,886,072. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders sold 82,500 shares of company stock worth $5,026,025. 0.25% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.



NYSE:MRK opened at $56.20 on Thursday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $52.83 and a 1-year high of $66.41. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.62, a quick ratio of 1.06 and a current ratio of 1.33. The firm has a market capitalization of $151,418.03, a P/E ratio of 14.12, a PEG ratio of 2.37 and a beta of 0.78.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.94 by $0.04. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 6.40% and a return on equity of 28.61%. The firm had revenue of $10.43 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.48 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.89 EPS. Merck & Co., Inc.’s quarterly revenue was up 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.16 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, April 6th. Investors of record on Thursday, March 15th were given a $0.48 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, March 14th. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.42%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 48.24%.

A number of analysts have weighed in on the stock. BMO Capital Markets set a $65.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, April 6th. Barclays raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and raised their price objective for the stock from $62.00 to $64.00 in a report on Thursday, April 5th. Jefferies Group set a $55.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, March 23rd. Leerink Swann raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating in a report on Monday, March 12th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group cut their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $66.00 to $65.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, February 14th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. Merck & Co., Inc. has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $66.47.

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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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