Todays Report: The Merck & Co. (MRK) Stake Boosted by Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd.

The Merck & Co. (MRK) Stake Boosted by Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd.

Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd. raised its position in Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 4.1% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor owned 520,496 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 20,711 shares during the period. Merck & Co. accounts for about 0.8% of Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd.’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 26th largest position. Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd.’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $29,986,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

Other hedge funds have also added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Geode Capital Management LLC raised its stake in 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 in the last quarter. Legal & General Group Plc raised its stake in Merck & Co. by 1.1% in the first quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 13,626,514 shares of the company’s stock worth $720,986,000 after buying an additional 152,049 shares in the last quarter. Fisher Asset Management LLC raised its stake in Merck & Co. by 0.9% in the second quarter. Fisher Asset Management LLC now owns 6,759,345 shares of the company’s stock worth $401,100,000 after buying an additional 61,110 shares in the last quarter. Loomis Sayles & Co. L P raised its stake in Merck & Co. by 5.4% in the first quarter. Loomis Sayles & Co. L P now owns 5,622,624 shares of the company’s stock worth $297,493,000 after buying an additional 288,003 shares in the last quarter. Finally, PGGM Investments raised its stake in Merck & Co. by 3.5% in the second quarter. PGGM Investments now owns 4,599,914 shares of the company’s stock worth $265,001,000 after buying an additional 156,975 shares in the last quarter. 72.93% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded down 4.00% during midday trading on Friday, reaching $58.84. 20,358,443 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The firm has a market cap of $162.70 billion, a PE ratio of 30.05 and a beta of 0.68. Merck & Co. has a 52-week low of $47.97 and a 52-week high of $64.86. The company has a 50 day moving average of $62.10 and a 200 day moving average of $59.19.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 25th. The company reported $1.07 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.99 by $0.08. Merck & Co. had a net margin of 13.76% and a return on equity of 24.24%. The company earned $10.50 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.17 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.96 earnings per share. Merck & Co.’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.6% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts predict that Merck & Co. will post $3.76 EPS for the current fiscal year.

MRK has been the topic of a number of recent analyst reports. Vetr raised shares of Merck & Co. from a “sell” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $62.26 price target on the stock in a research report on Monday, July 4th. Argus reissued a “buy” rating and set a $65.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Wednesday, September 14th. Bank of America Corp. raised shares of Merck & Co. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and lifted their price target for the stock from $57.00 to $70.00 in a research report on Thursday, October 13th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of 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, October 14th. Finally, Jefferies Group lifted their price target on shares of Merck & Co. from $50.00 to $53.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 14th. Thirteen equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co. presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of €66.46 ($73.03).

In other news, EVP Clark Golestani sold 3,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of €63.03 ($69.26), for a total transaction of €189,090.00 ($207,791.21). The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, August 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of €61.81 ($67.92), for a total transaction of €24,229,520.00 ($26,625,846.15). Following the sale, the chairman now owns 760,877 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €47,029,807.37 ($51,681,107). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.

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.

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