Federated Hermes Inc. increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 354.4% in the 1st quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The firm owned 3,313,811 shares of the company’s stock after acquiring an additional 2,584,507 shares during the period. Merck & Co., Inc. makes up about 0.7% of Federated Hermes Inc.’s holdings, making the stock its 22nd largest holding. Federated Hermes Inc. owned approximately 0.13% of Merck & Co., Inc. worth $254,965,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

A number of other institutional investors have also modified their holdings of the stock. Sowa Financial Group Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the fourth quarter worth $27,000. Total Clarity Wealth Management Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the fourth quarter worth $27,000. Stephenson National Bank & Trust purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the fourth quarter valued at $28,000. Pacifica Partners Inc. purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the fourth quarter valued at $35,000. Finally, Lion Street Advisors LLC purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the first quarter valued at $35,000. Institutional investors own 74.33% of the company’s stock.

Shares of MRK traded up $1.23 during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $82.07. 9,930,817 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 9,903,773. The business’s 50-day moving average price is $79.39 and its 200 day moving average price is $83.05. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82, a current ratio of 1.11 and a quick ratio of 0.87. Merck & Co., Inc. has a twelve month low of $65.25 and a twelve month high of $92.64. The company has a market capitalization of $204.50 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.64, a PEG ratio of 2.22 and a beta of 0.50.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, April 28th. The company reported $1.50 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.34 by $0.16. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 52.46% and a net margin of 21.10%. The firm had revenue of $12.06 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $11.46 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $1.22 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 11.5% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, equities research analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 5.31 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, July 7th. Investors of record on Monday, June 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.61 per share. This represents a $2.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.97%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, June 12th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 47.01%.

In related news, Director Wendell P. Weeks sold 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $76.02, for a total transaction of $380,100.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 5,100 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $387,702. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Company insiders own 0.28% of the company’s stock.

A number of research firms recently issued reports on MRK. Credit Suisse Group reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $95.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Monday, May 4th. Argus decreased their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $105.00 to $95.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a report on Tuesday, March 24th. Mizuho reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Wednesday, February 5th. Royal Bank of Canada decreased their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $92.00 to $89.00 and set a “sector perform” rating for the company in a report on Wednesday, April 1st. Finally, Morgan Stanley cut their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $97.00 to $89.00 and set an “overweight” rating on the stock in a research note on Thursday, April 2nd. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twelve have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $94.21.

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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