Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) Shares Sold by Franklin Resources Inc.

Franklin Resources Inc. trimmed its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRKFree Report) by 2.0% in the first quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 6,100,150 shares of the company’s stock after selling 123,532 shares during the period. Franklin Resources Inc. owned about 0.24% of Merck & Co., Inc. worth $648,995,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently modified their holdings of the company. Mackenzie Financial Corp raised its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.9% during the 1st quarter. Mackenzie Financial Corp now owns 2,537,899 shares of the company’s stock worth $270,007,000 after purchasing an additional 47,005 shares during the last quarter. MainStreet Investment Advisors LLC grew its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 11.8% during the 1st quarter. MainStreet Investment Advisors LLC now owns 60,583 shares of the company’s stock valued at $6,445,000 after buying an additional 6,382 shares during the period. Van Hulzen Asset Management LLC boosted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 15.8% during the 1st quarter. Van Hulzen Asset Management LLC now owns 178,405 shares of the company’s stock worth $18,973,000 after purchasing an additional 24,402 shares during the period. Machina Capital S.A.S. purchased a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 1st quarter worth $679,000. Finally, BOS Asset Management LLC purchased a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter worth $546,000. 74.59% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Insiders Place Their Bets

In other news, EVP Steven Mizell sold 4,250 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $109.01, for a total transaction of $463,292.50. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 22,935 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,500,144.35. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Company insiders own 0.20% of the company’s stock.

Merck & Co., Inc. Trading Up 0.8 %

Shares of NYSE:MRK traded up $0.86 during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $109.84. The stock had a trading volume of 4,941,343 shares, compared to its average volume of 7,707,466. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.88, a quick ratio of 1.03 and a current ratio of 1.28. The company has a market cap of $278.72 billion, a PE ratio of 90.03, a P/E/G ratio of 4.30 and a beta of 0.33. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12-month low of $84.52 and a 12-month high of $119.65. The company’s 50 day moving average is $108.85 and its 200-day moving average is $110.40.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRKGet Free Report) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The company reported ($2.06) EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of ($2.18) by $0.12. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 5.34% and a return on equity of 16.29%. The company had revenue of $15.04 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $14.44 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $1.87 EPS. Merck & Co., Inc.’s quarterly revenue was up 3.0% on a year-over-year basis. On average, sell-side analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 3.03 EPS for the current year.

Merck & Co., Inc. Announces Dividend

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 6th. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 15th will be given a $0.73 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 14th. This represents a $2.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.66%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is 239.34%.

Wall Street Analyst Weigh In

A number of analysts recently weighed in on the stock. BMO Capital Markets upped their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $102.00 to $113.00 in a research report on Tuesday, July 18th. Cantor Fitzgerald reiterated an “overweight” rating and issued a $135.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Tuesday, August 22nd. HSBC initiated coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Friday, July 14th. They issued a “hold” rating and a $123.00 price objective on the stock. lowered shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday. Finally, Morgan Stanley boosted their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $109.00 to $116.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 2nd. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fifteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. According to data from, the stock presently has a consensus rating of “Moderate Buy” and a consensus target price of $124.74.

View Our Latest Stock Analysis on MRK

About Merck & Co., Inc.

(Free Report)

Merck & Co, Inc operates as a healthcare company worldwide. It operates through two segments, Pharmaceutical and Animal Health. The Pharmaceutical segment offers human health pharmaceutical products in the areas of oncology, hospital acute care, immunology, neuroscience, virology, cardiovascular, and diabetes, as well as vaccine products, such as preventive pediatric, adolescent, and adult vaccines.

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

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