Investec Asset Management LTD Purchases 992,770 Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

Investec Asset Management LTD increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 24.7% during the fourth quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The institutional investor owned 5,013,028 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 992,770 shares during the quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. comprises about 1.7% of Investec Asset Management LTD’s portfolio, making the stock its 12th largest holding. Investec Asset Management LTD’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $383,045,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in MRK. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 17,936.7% during the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 53,150,490 shares of the company’s stock worth $696,000 after buying an additional 52,855,811 shares during the period. Bank of New York Mellon Corp increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 184,252.6% during the third quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 38,985,039 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,765,600,000 after buying an additional 38,963,892 shares during the period. Capital International Investors increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 178.2% during the third quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 32,984,606 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,339,928,000 after buying an additional 21,127,887 shares during the period. Jennison Associates LLC increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 323.1% during the fourth quarter. Jennison Associates LLC now owns 15,777,286 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,205,542,000 after buying an additional 12,048,406 shares during the period. Finally, Janus Henderson Group PLC increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 64.3% during the third quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 20,519,549 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,455,653,000 after buying an additional 8,032,634 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.51% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock opened at $76.63 on Friday. The company has a market capitalization of $206.61 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.66, a P/E/G ratio of 1.81 and a beta of 0.63. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52 week low of $56.26 and a 52 week high of $83.85. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.74, a quick ratio of 0.92 and a current ratio of 1.17.

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

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, April 5th. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 15th were paid a $0.55 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, March 14th. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.87%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 50.69%.

A number of research firms recently weighed in on MRK. ValuEngine lowered shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 18th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $93.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Monday, April 1st. Cantor Fitzgerald reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $95.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Friday, March 29th. Argus increased their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. to $95.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 20th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, February 19th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and ten have given a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $80.55.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. bought 4,121,683 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, April 8th. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $16.00 per share, for a total transaction of $65,946,928.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director Thomas H. Glocer sold 10,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, February 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.96, for a total transaction of $759,600.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 1,094,632 shares of company stock worth $87,840,652 over the last quarter. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

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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: Mutual Funds

Want to see what other hedge funds are holding MRK? Visit HoldingsChannel.com to get the latest 13F filings and insider trades for Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK).

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

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