Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. boosted its stake in Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 2.1% during the second quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 639,502 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 12,875 shares during the period. Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V.’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $36,842,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

Several other hedge funds have also recently bought and sold shares of MRK. Raymond James Trust N.A. increased its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 3.3% in the second quarter. Raymond James Trust N.A. now owns 337,745 shares of the company’s stock worth $19,457,000 after buying an additional 10,865 shares during the period. Nordea Investment Management AB increased its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 16.1% in the second quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 2,411,985 shares of the company’s stock worth $138,954,000 after buying an additional 334,806 shares during the period. Orbis Allan Gray Ltd bought a new position in shares of Merck & Co. during the first quarter worth $239,761,000. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. increased its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 7.0% in the first quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 1,107,242 shares of the company’s stock worth $58,584,000 after buying an additional 72,808 shares during the period. Finally, Avalon Advisors LLC increased its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 1.1% in the first quarter. Avalon Advisors LLC now owns 522,566 shares of the company’s stock worth $27,649,000 after buying an additional 5,754 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.93% of the company’s stock.

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

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded down 0.44% on Wednesday, hitting $61.66. 10,121,895 shares of the company traded hands. Merck & Co. has a 1-year low of $47.97 and a 1-year high of $64.86. The firm has a market capitalization of $170.50 billion, a PE ratio of 33.82 and a beta of 0.68. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $62.63 and its 200 day moving average price is $58.58.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. The business earned $9.84 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.79 billion. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 23.41% and a net margin of 13.01%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.86 EPS. Equities research analysts predict that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 15th were paid a dividend of $0.46 per share. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.98%. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 101.10%.

A number of equities analysts recently weighed in on the stock. Barclays PLC reissued an “overweight” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Wednesday. Leerink Swann reissued a “market perform” rating and issued a $65.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Wednesday. BMO Capital Markets downgraded shares of Merck & Co. from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $62.00 price target on the stock. in a report on Monday, July 18th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Sanford C. Bernstein reissued an “outperform” rating and issued a $74.00 price target (up from $66.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Thursday, August 11th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Cos. reissued a “neutral” rating and issued a $62.00 price target (up from $58.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Monday, August 8th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have given a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co. has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of €63.80 ($70.89).

In other Merck & Co. news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of €62.07 ($68.97), for a total transaction of €2,532,456.00 ($2,813,840.00). Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 128,973 shares in the company, valued at approximately €8,005,354.11 ($8,894,837.90). The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of €61.81 ($68.68), for a total value of €24,229,520.00 ($26,921,688.89). Following the sale, the chairman now owns 760,877 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €47,029,807.37 ($52,255,341.52). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.

About Merck & Co.

Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, which it markets directly and through its joint ventures. It operates through one segment, Pharmaceutical. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.

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