Altium Wealth Management LLC Increases Stock Position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

Altium Wealth Management LLC lifted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.0% in the 4th quarter, according to its most recent filing with the SEC. The firm owned 33,721 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 348 shares during the period. Altium Wealth Management LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $3,067,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other institutional investors and hedge funds have also made changes to their positions in MRK. BancorpSouth Bank increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.1% during the 3rd quarter. BancorpSouth Bank now owns 50,676 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,266,000 after purchasing an additional 1,538 shares in the last quarter. Lehman & Derafelo Financial Resources LLC increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 5.1% during the 2nd quarter. Lehman & Derafelo Financial Resources LLC now owns 51,175 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,381,000 after purchasing an additional 2,502 shares in the last quarter. Nomura Holdings Inc. increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 260.4% during the 3rd quarter. Nomura Holdings Inc. now owns 801,905 shares of the company’s stock valued at $67,143,000 after purchasing an additional 579,388 shares in the last quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 5.2% during the 3rd quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. now owns 2,519,127 shares of the company’s stock valued at $212,060,000 after purchasing an additional 123,617 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Ashburton Jersey Ltd increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.4% during the 3rd quarter. Ashburton Jersey Ltd now owns 210,924 shares of the company’s stock valued at $17,756,000 after purchasing an additional 750 shares in the last quarter. 74.50% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

In related news, EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 102,073 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, January 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $89.34, for a total transaction of $9,119,201.82. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 106,099 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $9,478,884.66. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Corporate insiders own 0.27% of the company’s stock.

A number of research analysts have issued reports on MRK shares. Morgan Stanley upped their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $90.00 to $95.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 13th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $96.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, October 10th. Mizuho reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $100.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Monday, January 6th. Cantor Fitzgerald reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $95.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Wednesday, January 8th. Finally, ValuEngine downgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $95.69.

NYSE MRK traded up $0.40 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $91.58. 92,752 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 8,625,800. The business’s 50 day moving average is $89.87 and its 200-day moving average is $85.59. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1 year low of $72.05 and a 1 year high of $92.64. The company has a market capitalization of $228.96 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.07, a P/E/G ratio of 1.80 and a beta of 0.52. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.84, a quick ratio of 0.98 and a current ratio of 1.26.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 29th. The company reported $1.51 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.24 by $0.27. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 20.26% and a return on equity of 48.16%. The firm had revenue of $12.40 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $11.59 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $1.19 earnings per share. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 14.9% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 5.15 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, January 8th. Investors of record on Monday, December 16th were issued a dividend of $0.61 per share. The ex-dividend date was Friday, December 13th. This is an increase from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.55. This represents a $2.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.66%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is 56.22%.

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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