Strs Ohio cut its position in shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 0.1% during the second quarter, according to its most recent filing with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 2,441,775 shares of the company’s stock after selling 3,620 shares during the period. Strs Ohio owned about 0.09% of Merck & Co. worth $140,670,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

A number of other large investors have also recently made changes to their positions in MRK. BlackRock Fund Advisors boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 1.4% in the first quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 43,031,080 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,276,774,000 after buying an additional 578,591 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Group LTD boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 2.0% in the first quarter. BlackRock Group LTD now owns 27,068,748 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,432,206,000 after buying an additional 525,220 shares in the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 1.5% in the first quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 23,656,034 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,249,222,000 after buying an additional 353,474 shares in the last quarter. Legal & General Group Plc boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 1.1% in the first quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 13,626,514 shares of the company’s stock valued at $720,986,000 after buying an additional 152,049 shares in the last quarter. Finally, TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 3.4% in the first quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 12,574,367 shares of the company’s stock valued at $665,310,000 after buying an additional 409,471 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.93% of the company’s stock.

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

Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded down 1.00% during trading on Monday, hitting $61.52. The company had a trading volume of 13,054,599 shares. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $62.53 and its 200 day moving average price is $58.84. The company has a market capitalization of $170.12 billion, a P/E ratio of 33.75 and a beta of 0.68. Merck & Co. has a 52 week low of $47.97 and a 52 week high of $64.86.

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

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 15th were paid a $0.46 dividend. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.99%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, September 13th. Merck & Co.’s payout ratio is 101.10%.

MRK has been the topic of several analyst reports. Barclays PLC upped their price target on Merck & Co. from $66.00 to $72.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, September 9th. Jefferies Group upped their price target on Merck & Co. from $53.00 to $57.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, August 8th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $70.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Friday. Sanford C. Bernstein reiterated an “outperform” rating and set a $74.00 price target (up from $66.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Thursday, August 11th. Finally, Morgan Stanley set a $60.00 price target on Merck & Co. and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 13th. Thirteen research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of €65.58 ($72.06).

In other Merck & Co. news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of €62.07 ($68.21), for a total value of €2,532,456.00 ($2,782,918.68). Following the sale, the insider now owns 128,973 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately €8,005,354.11 ($8,797,092.43). The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of €61.81 ($67.92), for a total value of €24,229,520.00 ($26,625,846.15). Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now directly owns 760,877 shares in the company, valued at approximately €47,029,807.37 ($51,681,107). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.05% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Merck & Co. Company Profile

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.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:MRK

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