Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Stake Boosted by Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc.

Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. raised its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 14.1% in the 1st quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The firm owned 5,922,828 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 731,371 shares during the period. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. owned about 0.22% of Merck & Co., Inc. worth $322,617,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently made changes to their positions in the business. Middleton & Co Inc MA increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 4.0% during the 1st quarter. Middleton & Co Inc MA now owns 157,307 shares of the company’s stock valued at $8,569,000 after purchasing an additional 6,063 shares in the last quarter. Stephens Inc. AR boosted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.7% during the 1st quarter. Stephens Inc. AR now owns 365,496 shares of the company’s stock valued at $19,909,000 after acquiring an additional 9,526 shares during the last quarter. Mork Capital Management LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter valued at about $990,000. Regal Investment Advisors LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 25.2% during the 4th quarter. Regal Investment Advisors LLC now owns 7,453 shares of the company’s stock valued at $419,000 after acquiring an additional 1,501 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Teacher Retirement System of Texas boosted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.0% during the 4th quarter. Teacher Retirement System of Texas now owns 1,867,481 shares of the company’s stock valued at $105,083,000 after acquiring an additional 35,735 shares during the last quarter. 73.08% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 134,094 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction on Monday, June 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.00, for a total transaction of $8,179,734.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 100,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $6,100,000. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 228,091 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction on Tuesday, July 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.00, for a total transaction of $14,825,915.00. Following the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 938,788 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $61,021,220. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 406,365 shares of company stock worth $25,829,990 in the last 90 days. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of analysts have recently issued reports on MRK shares. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $66.00 price target on the stock in a report on Tuesday, April 17th. Deutsche Bank reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Wednesday, April 25th. Bank of America raised their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $74.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, July 30th. Morgan Stanley raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and raised their price objective for the stock from $59.80 to $63.00 in a report on Tuesday, April 17th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets raised their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $65.00 to $70.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Thursday, April 26th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $66.24.

Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. traded up $0.36, hitting $66.58, on Tuesday, Marketbeat.com reports. 8,083,200 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 11,426,475. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52 week low of $52.83 and a 52 week high of $66.99. The stock has a market cap of $177.76 billion, a P/E ratio of 16.72, a PEG ratio of 2.27 and a beta of 0.80. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.63, a current ratio of 1.42 and a quick ratio of 1.10.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 27th. The company reported $1.06 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.03. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 3.67% and a return on equity of 32.02%. The company had revenue of $10.47 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.28 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $1.01 earnings per share. Merck & Co., Inc.’s quarterly revenue was up 5.4% on a year-over-year basis. equities analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.27 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 5th. Investors of record on Monday, September 17th will be given a $0.48 dividend. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.88%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, September 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 48.24%.

About Merck & Co., Inc.

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates in four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, asthma, nasal allergy symptoms, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, fungal, intra-abdominal infections, hypertension, arthritis and pain, inflammatory, osteoporosis, and fertility diseases.

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

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