Commerce Bank boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 2.2% during the second quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 1,374,101 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 30,201 shares during the period. Merck & Co. comprises about 1.3% of Commerce Bank’s holdings, making the stock its 15th largest position. Commerce Bank’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $79,162,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.
Other hedge funds have also recently modified their holdings of the company. BlackRock Fund Advisors raised 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 increased its position 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 worth $1,432,206,000 after buying an additional 525,220 shares during the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC increased its position 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 worth $1,249,222,000 after buying an additional 353,474 shares during the last quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. increased its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 24.1% in the second quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 22,992,642 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,324,996,000 after buying an additional 4,468,488 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Boston Partners increased its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 23.8% in the second quarter. Boston Partners now owns 19,034,299 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,096,566,000 after buying an additional 3,655,639 shares during the last quarter. 72.93% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded up 0.216% during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $62.645. 1,418,437 shares of the stock were exchanged. Merck & Co. has a 52 week low of $47.97 and a 52 week high of $64.86. The firm has a market capitalization of $173.23 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 34.364 and a beta of 0.68. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $62.57 and its 200 day moving average price is $58.63.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. Merck & Co. had a net margin of 13.01% and a return on equity of 23.41%. The company earned $9.84 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.79 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.86 earnings per share. Merck & Co.’s revenue for the quarter was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts expect that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 EPS for the current year.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th were given a dividend of $0.46 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.94%. Merck & Co.’s payout ratio is 101.10%.
MRK has been the topic of a number of research analyst reports. Berenberg Bank restated a “hold” rating and issued a $62.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Sunday, September 11th. Argus restated a “buy” rating and issued a $65.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Wednesday, September 14th. Jefferies Group restated a “hold” rating and issued a $56.00 target price (down previously from $57.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Monday, September 12th. Barclays PLC restated an “overweight” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Wednesday. Finally, Credit Suisse Group AG upgraded Merck & Co. from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating and boosted their target price for the stock from $62.00 to $73.00 in a research note on Sunday, August 7th. Twelve research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and ten have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co. presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of €65.05 ($72.28).
In other Merck & Co. news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 3rd. The shares were 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 transaction, the insider now owns 128,973 shares in the company, valued at approximately €8,005,354.11 ($8,894,837.90). The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, EVP Clark Golestani sold 3,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of €63.03 ($70.03), for a total transaction of €189,090.00 ($210,100.00). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.
About Merck & Co.