Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Shares Sold by American Research & Management Co.

American Research & Management Co. trimmed its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 3.6% during the third quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 28,075 shares of the company’s stock after selling 1,056 shares during the period. American Research & Management Co.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $1,992,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other large investors have also modified their holdings of the business. Heritage Investors Management Corp lifted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 5.6% in the 1st quarter. Heritage Investors Management Corp now owns 251,926 shares of the company’s stock valued at $13,722,000 after purchasing an additional 13,438 shares in the last quarter. Leisure Capital Management purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 1st quarter valued at about $427,000. First Allied Advisory Services Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 124.7% during the 1st quarter. First Allied Advisory Services Inc. now owns 152,630 shares of the company’s stock valued at $8,329,000 after buying an additional 84,718 shares during the period. Stelac Advisory Services LLC raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 121.0% during the 1st quarter. Stelac Advisory Services LLC now owns 4,057 shares of the company’s stock valued at $221,000 after buying an additional 2,221 shares during the period. Finally, Investment Management of Virginia LLC raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.6% during the 1st quarter. Investment Management of Virginia LLC now owns 56,141 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,058,000 after buying an additional 1,416 shares during the period. 72.30% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

MRK stock opened at $70.40 on Monday. The company has a current ratio of 1.33, a quick ratio of 1.04 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52-week low of $52.83 and a 52-week high of $73.49. The company has a market cap of $189.81 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.69, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.16 and a beta of 0.81.



Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 34.20% and a net margin of 8.44%. The company had revenue of $10.79 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.87 billion. On average, equities analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.33 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its board has initiated a stock repurchase program on Thursday, October 25th that allows the company to buyback $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to repurchase up to 5.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are generally a sign that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 17th will be issued a dividend of $0.55 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 14th. This is an increase from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.13%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is currently 48.24%.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 228,091 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.00, for a total transaction of $14,825,915.00. Following the sale, the chairman now directly owns 938,788 shares in the company, valued at approximately $61,021,220. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. acquired 666,666 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, October 1st. The shares were acquired at an average price of $15.00 per share, for a total transaction of $9,999,990.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 929,360 shares of company stock worth $64,370,599 over the last 90 days. 0.32% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several equities research analysts recently commented on MRK shares. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 16th. Barclays raised their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $75.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, September 7th. SunTrust Banks reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $77.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Thursday, August 16th. Guggenheim started coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Monday, October 8th. They set a “buy” rating on the stock. Finally, Credit Suisse Group raised their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $71.00 to $81.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Thursday, October 11th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and sixteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $70.99.

Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates in four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, asthma, nasal allergy symptoms, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, fungal, intra-abdominal infections, hypertension, arthritis and pain, inflammatory, osteoporosis, and fertility diseases.

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

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