Sanders Capital LLC Grows Holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

Sanders Capital LLC increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 2.5% during the 2nd quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The fund owned 2,689,772 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 65,000 shares during the quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. makes up about 1.1% of Sanders Capital LLC’s holdings, making the stock its 27th biggest position. Sanders Capital LLC owned approximately 0.10% of Merck & Co., Inc. worth $256,308,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other institutional investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. World Asset Management Inc boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 13.9% in the second quarter. World Asset Management Inc now owns 194,722 shares of the company’s stock valued at $16,327,000 after acquiring an additional 23,786 shares during the last quarter. Atlantic Union Bankshares Corp boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 209.4% in the second quarter. Atlantic Union Bankshares Corp now owns 73,693 shares of the company’s stock valued at $6,179,000 after acquiring an additional 49,878 shares during the last quarter. Granite Investment Advisors LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.6% in the second quarter. Granite Investment Advisors LLC now owns 9,796 shares of the company’s stock valued at $821,000 after acquiring an additional 150 shares during the last quarter. Strategic Investment Advisors MI boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 16.5% in the second quarter. Strategic Investment Advisors MI now owns 3,185 shares of the company’s stock valued at $266,000 after acquiring an additional 450 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Landsberg Bennett & Dubbaneh LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.5% in the second quarter. Landsberg Bennett & Dubbaneh LLC now owns 44,946 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,809,000 after acquiring an additional 1,501 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 75.15% of the company’s stock.

Shares of MRK stock traded up $0.78 during trading on Friday, reaching $84.47. 10,413,945 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 10,299,038. The company has a market capitalization of $215.47 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.46, a P/E/G ratio of 1.70 and a beta of 0.56. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82, a current ratio of 1.37 and a quick ratio of 1.06. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $83.19. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1 year low of $64.97 and a 1 year high of $87.07.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 30th. The company reported $1.30 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.16 by $0.14. The company had revenue of $11.76 billion for 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 42.84%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s revenue was up 12.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $1.06 EPS. Equities research analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.91 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 7th. Investors of record on Monday, September 16th will be paid a dividend of $0.55 per share. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.60%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, September 13th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is currently 50.69%.

A number of research analysts have weighed in on the stock. Atlantic Securities upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating in a research note on Monday, May 13th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. BMO Capital Markets boosted their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $83.00 to $84.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 1st. UBS Group boosted their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $87.00 to $88.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, May 2nd. Credit Suisse Group assumed coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Thursday, July 11th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $95.00 target price on the stock. Finally, Bank of America set a $97.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 11th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fifteen have given a buy rating to the company. Merck & Co., Inc. currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $90.36.

In related news, CFO Robert M. Davis sold 216,718 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, June 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.43, for a total transaction of $18,514,218.74. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 354,378 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $30,274,512.54. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Frank Clyburn sold 25,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, May 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $77.73, for a total transaction of $1,943,250.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 92,604 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,198,108.92. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.27% of the company’s stock.

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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