Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Shares Sold by Eastern Bank

Eastern Bank decreased its position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 0.9% during the third quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 341,045 shares of the company’s stock after selling 3,240 shares during the quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. accounts for 1.6% of Eastern Bank’s portfolio, making the stock its 10th biggest holding. Eastern Bank’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $24,194,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

A number of other large investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in MRK. Senator Investment Group LP bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $285,594,000. Bank of Montreal Can bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $232,626,000. Janus Henderson Group PLC increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 41.8% in the 2nd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 12,486,915 shares of the company’s stock worth $757,959,000 after acquiring an additional 3,682,328 shares during the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 9.2% in the 2nd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 38,653,047 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,346,241,000 after acquiring an additional 3,242,430 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Investec Asset Management LTD increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 4,320.3% in the 2nd quarter. Investec Asset Management LTD now owns 3,096,008 shares of the company’s stock worth $187,928,000 after acquiring an additional 3,025,967 shares during the last quarter. 72.32% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Several research firms have recently weighed in on MRK. Wolfe Research began coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Tuesday, October 23rd. They set an “outperform” rating on the stock. BMO Capital Markets reissued a “buy” rating and set a $70.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Sunday, July 22nd. Zacks Investment Research raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $79.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, September 26th. ValuEngine raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 18th. Finally, Citigroup boosted their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $79.00 to $84.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 31st. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $71.92.

NYSE MRK opened at $74.86 on Friday. The company has a market cap of $197.66 billion, a PE ratio of 18.81, a P/E/G ratio of 1.99 and a beta of 0.73. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a quick ratio of 1.04 and a current ratio of 1.33. Merck & Co., Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $52.83 and a fifty-two week high of $75.99.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. The company had revenue of $10.79 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.87 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 34.20% and a net margin of 8.44%. On average, equities analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 17th will be given a $0.55 dividend. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.94%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 14th. This is an increase from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is 48.24%.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock buyback plan on Thursday, October 25th that allows the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to buy up to 5.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are often a sign that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. acquired 666,666 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, October 1st. The shares were bought at an average price of $15.00 per share, with a total value of $9,999,990.00. The purchase was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 279,851 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, September 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.08, for a total value of $19,611,958.08. Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 971,801 shares in the company, valued at approximately $68,103,814.08. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 1,279,104 shares of company stock worth $92,845,846 in the last ninety days. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

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Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile

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.

See Also: Diversification in Investing

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

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