Rampart Investment Management Company LLC lowered its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 26.2% during the fourth quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The fund owned 28,673 shares of the company’s stock after selling 10,157 shares during the period. Rampart Investment Management Company LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $2,191,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other hedge funds have also recently modified their holdings of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.5% in the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 202,833,998 shares of the company’s stock valued at $14,389,044,000 after buying an additional 924,701 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc grew its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.5% in the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 202,833,998 shares of the company’s stock valued at $14,389,044,000 after buying an additional 924,701 shares during the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund grew its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 17,936.7% in the 4th quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 53,150,490 shares of the company’s stock valued at $696,000 after buying an additional 52,855,811 shares during the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp grew its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 184,252.6% in the 3rd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 38,985,039 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,765,600,000 after buying an additional 38,963,892 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Capital International Investors grew its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 178.2% in the 3rd quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 32,984,606 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,339,928,000 after buying an additional 21,127,887 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 73.46% of the company’s stock.

In related news, Director Thomas H. Glocer sold 10,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, February 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.96, for a total transaction of $759,600.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 231,566 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, February 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.08, for a total value of $18,080,673.28. Following the sale, the chairman now owns 923,516 shares in the company, valued at approximately $72,108,129.28. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 1,094,632 shares of company stock worth $87,840,652. 0.32% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock opened at $73.19 on Friday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a one year low of $56.26 and a one year high of $83.85. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.74, a quick ratio of 0.92 and a current ratio of 1.17. The stock has a market cap of $197.33 billion, a P/E ratio of 16.86, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.78 and a beta of 0.63.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Friday, February 1st. The company reported $1.04 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.01. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 36.83% and a net margin of 14.71%. The company had revenue of $11 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.93 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.98 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.4% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.65 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, April 5th. Investors of record on Friday, March 15th were given a dividend of $0.55 per share. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, March 14th. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.01%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 50.69%.

A number of equities research analysts have commented on MRK shares. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $83.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Friday, January 4th. BMO Capital Markets lowered Merck & Co., Inc. from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $80.00 price target on the stock. in a research report on Wednesday, January 23rd. Argus upped their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. to $95.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, February 20th. Cantor Fitzgerald started coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Friday, February 22nd. They issued an “overweight” rating and a $95.00 price target on the stock. Finally, ValuEngine lowered Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $78.74.

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Merck & Co., Inc. Profile

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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