Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) Shares Purchased by Covington Capital Management

Covington Capital Management lifted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 4.6% in the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The firm owned 210,069 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 9,233 shares during the period. Merck & Co., Inc. makes up 1.0% of Covington Capital Management’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 26th largest holding. Covington Capital Management’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $17,614,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently made changes to their positions in MRK. Norges Bank acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the fourth quarter valued at about $2,166,688,000. Nuveen Asset Management LLC lifted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 6,517.4% in the second quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 24,307,332 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,038,169,000 after purchasing an additional 23,940,007 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. lifted its stake 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 valued at $16,087,745,000 after purchasing an additional 4,397,580 shares during the period. FMR LLC lifted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 41.2% in the first quarter. FMR LLC now owns 11,111,444 shares of the company’s stock valued at $924,139,000 after purchasing an additional 3,244,078 shares during the period. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC lifted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.4% in the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 34,032,366 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,596,161,000 after purchasing an additional 3,219,877 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 74.97% of the company’s stock.

MRK has been the subject of several recent analyst reports. Citigroup raised their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $84.00 to $95.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, June 21st. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Morgan Stanley raised their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $84.00 to $90.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Friday, June 21st. Svb Leerink initiated coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Friday, August 16th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $103.00 price objective for the company. Societe Generale set a $105.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, September 3rd. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $90.00 to $93.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Friday, June 14th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eighteen have given a buy rating to the company. Merck & Co., Inc. presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $93.29.



In other news, EVP Richard R. Deluca sold 6,427 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.09, for a total transaction of $546,873.43. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 103,223 shares in the company, valued at $8,783,245.07. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Insiders own 0.27% of the company’s stock.

MRK traded up $0.06 during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $83.66. 1,655,937 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 8,064,552. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82, a current ratio of 1.21 and a quick ratio of 0.92. The stock has a market capitalization of $218.04 billion, a PE ratio of 19.28, a P/E/G ratio of 1.73 and a beta of 0.53. The business’s 50-day moving average price is $84.96 and its 200 day moving average price is $82.03. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $66.10 and a 1-year high of $87.35.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, July 30th. The company reported $1.30 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.16 by $0.14. The company had revenue of $11.76 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.94 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 21.10% and a return on equity of 43.34%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 12.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $1.06 earnings per share. As a group, analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.92 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 7th. Stockholders of record on Monday, September 16th will be issued a dividend of $0.55 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, September 13th. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.63%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 50.69%.

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.

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

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