Securian Asset Management Inc Increases Stock Position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

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Securian Asset Management Inc grew its position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 0.5% in the 2nd quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 271,308 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 1,482 shares during the period. Securian Asset Management Inc’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $22,749,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other hedge funds have also recently made changes to their positions in the company. LFA Lugano Financial Advisors SA increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 250.0% during the second quarter. LFA Lugano Financial Advisors SA now owns 315 shares of the company’s stock worth $26,000 after buying an additional 225 shares during the last quarter. JJJ Advisors Inc. purchased a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the second quarter worth about $27,000. PRW Wealth Management LLC purchased a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the fourth quarter worth about $41,000. Aspire Private Capital LLC purchased a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the fourth quarter worth about $55,000. Finally, Thor Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the first quarter worth about $69,000. Institutional investors own 76.05% of the company’s stock.

Shares of MRK traded up $0.17 during trading hours on Tuesday, hitting $86.36. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 2,065,532 shares, compared to its average volume of 9,460,834. The company has a market cap of $217.79 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.90, a PEG ratio of 1.73 and a beta of 0.56. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82, a current ratio of 1.21 and a quick ratio of 0.92. The business has a 50 day simple moving average of $83.49 and a two-hundred day simple moving average of $81.00. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52-week low of $66.10 and a 52-week high of $87.07.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, July 30th. The company reported $1.30 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.16 by $0.14. The firm 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 was up 12.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $1.06 earnings per share. Research analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.91 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 7th. Stockholders of record on Monday, September 16th will be paid a $0.55 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, September 13th. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.55%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 50.69%.

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

A number of analysts recently issued reports on MRK shares. Morgan Stanley raised their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $84.00 to $90.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, June 21st. BMO Capital Markets raised their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $83.00 to $84.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a report on Wednesday, May 1st. Atlantic Securities upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating in a report on Monday, May 13th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Leerink Swann started coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Thursday, August 15th. They set an “outperform” rating and a $103.00 price objective for the company. Finally, Credit Suisse Group restated a “buy” rating and set a $95.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Wednesday, August 7th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seventeen have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $92.56.

About Merck & Co., Inc.

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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