Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Stake Lessened by Rampart Investment Management Company LLC

Rampart Investment Management Company LLC cut its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 26.2% in the 4th quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 28,673 shares of the company’s stock after selling 10,157 shares during the period. Rampart Investment Management Company LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $2,191,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other hedge funds have also added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.5% in the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 202,833,998 shares of the company’s stock valued at $14,389,044,000 after acquiring an additional 924,701 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc grew its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.5% in the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 202,833,998 shares of the company’s stock valued at $14,389,044,000 after acquiring an additional 924,701 shares in the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund grew its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 17,936.7% in the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 53,150,490 shares of the company’s stock valued at $696,000 after acquiring an additional 52,855,811 shares in the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp grew its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 184,252.6% in the third quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 38,985,039 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,765,600,000 after acquiring an additional 38,963,892 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Capital International Investors grew its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 178.2% in the third quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 32,984,606 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,339,928,000 after acquiring an additional 21,127,887 shares in the last quarter. 73.46% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, CEO Kenneth C. Frazier sold 53,961 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, February 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $80.02, for a total transaction of $4,317,959.22. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 733,942 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $58,730,038.84. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, CEO Kenneth C. Frazier sold 92,913 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, February 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $80.03, for a total value of $7,435,827.39. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 784,863 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $62,812,585.89. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 1,094,632 shares of company stock valued at $87,840,652. 0.32% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several research firms have recently issued reports on MRK. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Tuesday, February 19th. Argus upped their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. to $95.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, February 20th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Merck & Co., Inc. from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, January 24th. Cantor Fitzgerald reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $95.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Monday, March 4th. Finally, ValuEngine lowered Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eleven have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $78.74.

Shares of NYSE MRK opened at $73.19 on Friday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $56.26 and a 1-year high of $83.85. The firm has a market cap of $197.33 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.86, a PEG ratio of 1.78 and a beta of 0.63. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.74, a current ratio of 1.17 and a quick ratio of 0.92.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Friday, February 1st. The company reported $1.04 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.01. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 36.83% and a net margin of 14.71%. The business had revenue of $11 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.93 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $0.98 earnings per share. Merck & Co., Inc.’s revenue was up 5.4% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.65 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, April 5th. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 15th were issued a dividend of $0.55 per share. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.01%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, March 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 50.69%.

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Merck & Co., Inc. 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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