Edge Wealth Management LLC lessened its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 5.6% in the 3rd quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The fund owned 152,074 shares of the company’s stock after selling 8,957 shares during the quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. comprises approximately 2.6% of Edge Wealth Management LLC’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 13th biggest position. Edge Wealth Management LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $10,788,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently modified their holdings of the stock. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 86.5% during the 3rd quarter. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 1,656 shares of the company’s stock worth $117,000 after purchasing an additional 768 shares during the last quarter. Taylor Wealth Management Partners acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth $110,000. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 155.2% during the 2nd quarter. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV now owns 1,832 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after purchasing an additional 1,114 shares during the last quarter. Acropolis Investment Management LLC acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 3rd quarter worth $140,000. Finally, Atlantic Trust LLC acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth $127,000. 72.13% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.
In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, insider Roger M. Perlmutter sold 225,443 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.27, for a total value of $16,969,094.61. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 366,998 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $27,623,939.46. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 36,218 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.14, for a total transaction of $2,721,420.52. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 82,481 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,197,622.34. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 1,279,104 shares of company stock worth $92,845,846 in the last ninety days. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. The firm had revenue of $10.79 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.87 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 8.44% and a return on equity of 34.48%. As a group, analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 earnings per share for the current year.
Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its board has approved a share buyback plan on Thursday, October 25th that authorizes the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to reacquire up to 5.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are typically a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.
The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 17th will be given a $0.55 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, December 14th. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.94%. This is a boost from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 48.24%.
Several equities research analysts have issued reports on the stock. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 16th. Bank of America boosted their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $74.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, July 30th. Citigroup boosted their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $79.00 to $84.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 31st. BMO Capital Markets reissued a “buy” rating and set a $70.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Sunday, July 22nd. Finally, Wolfe Research started coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Tuesday, October 23rd. They set an “outperform” rating on the stock. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $72.53.
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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