Nomura Asset Management Co. Ltd. increased its stake in shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.9% during the first quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The fund owned 523,820 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 9,531 shares during the period. Nomura Asset Management Co. Ltd.’s holdings in Merck & were worth $33,283,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

A number of other institutional investors also recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Norges Bank bought a new position in shares of Merck & during the fourth quarter valued at $1,628,824,000. Dodge & Cox bought a new position in shares of Merck & during the fourth quarter valued at $821,068,000. Bank of Montreal Can boosted its position in shares of Merck & by 49.7% in the first quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 8,991,093 shares of the company’s stock valued at $571,295,000 after buying an additional 2,983,319 shares in the last quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board boosted its position in shares of Merck & by 70.4% in the first quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 5,568,791 shares of the company’s stock valued at $353,841,000 after buying an additional 2,300,200 shares in the last quarter. Finally, AQR Capital Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Merck & by 23.7% in the first quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 8,146,594 shares of the company’s stock valued at $517,635,000 after buying an additional 1,561,853 shares in the last quarter. 73.46% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (MRK) traded up 0.55% during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $61.83. The stock had a trading volume of 2,006,150 shares. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $62.91 and its 200-day moving average price is $63.83. Merck & Company, Inc. has a 52-week low of $58.29 and a 52-week high of $66.80. The firm has a market cap of $168.63 billion, a PE ratio of 33.48 and a beta of 0.80.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.87 by $0.14. Merck & had a net margin of 17.14% and a return on equity of 26.02%. The firm had revenue of $9.93 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.75 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.93 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts anticipate that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.87 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 6th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 15th will be given a dividend of $0.47 per share. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.06%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. Merck &’s payout ratio is 76.11%.

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MRK has been the subject of a number of research analyst reports. Zacks Investment Research raised Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 price target for the company in a report on Wednesday, May 10th. J P Morgan Chase & Co boosted their price target on Merck & from $74.00 to $76.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Thursday, May 11th. BidaskClub cut Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, July 11th. BMO Capital Markets boosted their price target on Merck & from $68.00 to $70.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Thursday, May 11th. Finally, Vetr raised Merck & from a “sell” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $71.50 price target for the company in a report on Monday, May 15th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the company. Merck & presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $69.63.

About Merck &

Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services and Alliances. 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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Merck & (NYSE:MRK)

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