Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Position Cut by ACG Wealth

ACG Wealth lessened its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.9% in the third quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 43,969 shares of the company’s stock after selling 851 shares during the period. ACG Wealth’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $3,119,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Senator Investment Group LP bought a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter valued at about $285,594,000. Bank of Montreal Can bought a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter valued at about $232,626,000. Janus Henderson Group PLC boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 41.8% during the 2nd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 12,486,915 shares of the company’s stock valued at $757,959,000 after purchasing an additional 3,682,328 shares in the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 9.2% during the 2nd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 38,653,047 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,346,241,000 after purchasing an additional 3,242,430 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Investec Asset Management LTD boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 4,320.3% during the 2nd quarter. Investec Asset Management LTD now owns 3,096,008 shares of the company’s stock valued at $187,928,000 after purchasing an additional 3,025,967 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.33% of the company’s stock.

MRK stock opened at $72.87 on Wednesday. The company has a quick ratio of 1.04, a current ratio of 1.33 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61. Merck & Co., Inc. has a one year low of $52.83 and a one year high of $73.49. The stock has a market cap of $189.81 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.26, a PEG ratio of 2.15 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 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.14 by $0.05. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 8.44% and a return on equity of 34.20%. The company had revenue of $10.79 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.87 billion. Sell-side analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.33 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 17th will be paid a dividend of $0.55 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 14th. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.02%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 48.24%.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its board has initiated a share repurchase program on Thursday, October 25th that authorizes the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to repurchase up to 5.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are typically a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

Several equities analysts have recently weighed in on the stock. SunTrust Banks raised their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $77.00 to $80.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday. Wolfe Research assumed coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Tuesday, October 23rd. They set an “outperform” rating for the company. BMO Capital Markets raised their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $82.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Monday, October 22nd. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 18th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 16th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $71.56.

In other news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 279,850 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, October 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.07, for a total value of $20,168,789.50. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now directly owns 971,800 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $70,037,626. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. purchased 666,666 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 1st. The stock was bought at an average cost of $15.00 per share, with a total value of $9,999,990.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders have sold 701,269 shares of company stock valued at $49,544,684 over the last ninety days. Insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

About Merck & Co., Inc.

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.

Further Reading: Insider Trading

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

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