Royal London Asset Management Ltd. Sells 17,203 Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

Royal London Asset Management Ltd. reduced its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.6% in the 2nd quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 1,027,116 shares of the company’s stock after selling 17,203 shares during the period. Merck & Co., Inc. makes up approximately 0.8% of Royal London Asset Management Ltd.’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 22nd biggest position. Royal London Asset Management Ltd.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $86,139,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Other hedge funds also recently modified their holdings of the company. JJJ Advisors Inc. bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the second quarter worth $27,000. PRW Wealth Management LLC bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the fourth quarter worth $41,000. Aspire Private Capital LLC bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the fourth quarter worth $55,000. Thor Advisors LLC bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the first quarter worth $69,000. Finally, Contravisory Investment Management Inc. lifted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 19.7% during the second quarter. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. now owns 858 shares of the company’s stock worth $72,000 after purchasing an additional 141 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 75.34% of the company’s stock.

Several equities research analysts have weighed in on the company. Credit Suisse Group restated a “buy” rating and set a $95.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Wednesday, August 7th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. upped their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $90.00 to $93.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research note on Friday, June 14th. Atlantic Securities upgraded 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. Mizuho restated a “buy” rating and set a $97.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Monday, August 5th. Finally, ValuEngine cut Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 1st. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fifteen have issued a buy rating to the company. Merck & Co., Inc. has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $91.07.

In other news, EVP Richard R. Deluca sold 6,427 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, August 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.09, for a total transaction of $546,873.43. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 103,223 shares in the company, valued at $8,783,245.07. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CFO Robert M. Davis sold 216,718 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, June 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $85.43, for a total transaction of $18,514,218.74. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 354,378 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $30,274,512.54. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.27% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Shares of NYSE:MRK traded up $0.45 during trading on Tuesday, hitting $86.18. 3,585,763 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 9,583,266. The stock has a 50 day simple moving average of $83.37. The firm has a market cap of $218.96 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.86, a P/E/G ratio of 1.74 and a beta of 0.56. The company has a quick ratio of 0.92, a current ratio of 1.21 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $65.68 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 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.16 by $0.14. The company had revenue of $11.76 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.94 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 21.10% and a return on equity of 43.34%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 12.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $1.06 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.91 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 7th. Stockholders of record on Monday, September 16th will be issued a dividend of $0.55 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, September 13th. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.55%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 50.69%.

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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