Alphinity Investment Management Pty Ltd Sells 117,163 Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

Alphinity Investment Management Pty Ltd decreased its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 29.7% in the third quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 276,846 shares of the company’s stock after selling 117,163 shares during the quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. comprises about 3.7% of Alphinity Investment Management Pty Ltd’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 13th biggest holding. Alphinity Investment Management Pty Ltd’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $19,639,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Other large investors also recently made changes to their positions in the company. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.5% in the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 185,546,933 shares of the company’s stock worth $11,262,699,000 after purchasing an additional 831,243 shares in the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp increased its holdings in shares of 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 purchasing an additional 3,242,430 shares in the last quarter. Morgan Stanley increased its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.9% in the 2nd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 15,905,834 shares of the company’s stock worth $965,485,000 after purchasing an additional 149,438 shares in the last quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. increased its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 19.5% in the 2nd quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 14,733,548 shares of the company’s stock worth $894,326,000 after purchasing an additional 2,406,836 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Janus Henderson Group PLC increased its holdings in shares of 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 purchasing an additional 3,682,328 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.72% of the company’s stock.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, insider Roger M. Perlmutter sold 225,443 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.27, for a total transaction of $16,969,094.61. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 366,998 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $27,623,939.46. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 107,360 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, September 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.18, for a total value of $7,534,524.80. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 100,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $7,018,000. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 1,279,104 shares of company stock valued at $92,845,846 in the last three months. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Shares of MRK opened at $76.72 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a current ratio of 1.44 and a quick ratio of 1.15. Merck & Co., Inc. has a one year low of $52.83 and a one year high of $80.19. The firm has a market capitalization of $210.87 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.28, a PEG ratio of 2.13 and a beta of 0.71.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 34.48% and a net margin of 8.44%. The company had revenue of $10.79 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.87 billion. Equities research analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its board has initiated a stock buyback plan on Thursday, October 25th that authorizes the company to buyback $10.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to buy up to 5.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are typically a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Investors of record on Monday, December 17th will be issued a $0.55 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, December 14th. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.87%. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is presently 48.24%.

Several brokerages recently commented on MRK. Credit Suisse Group lifted their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $71.00 to $81.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Thursday, October 11th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, October 1st. BMO Capital Markets lifted their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $82.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Monday, October 22nd. ValuEngine raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, October 18th. Finally, Citigroup set a $79.00 price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 16th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $73.65.

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Merck & Co., Inc. 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.

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

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