Traders Sell Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) on Strength on Insider Selling

Investors sold shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) on strength during trading hours on Monday after an insider sold shares in the company. $68.68 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $225.35 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $156.67 million out of the stock. Of all equities tracked, Merck & Co., Inc. had the 0th highest net out-flow for the day. Merck & Co., Inc. traded up $0.56 for the day and closed at $55.43Specifically, Director Wendell P. Weeks sold 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.57, for a total transaction of $267,850.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 5,100 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $273,207. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total value of $3,697,800.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 101,484 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $6,254,458.92. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 82,500 shares of company stock valued at $5,026,025 over the last ninety days. Insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.

A number of equities research analysts recently weighed in on MRK shares. Bank of America initiated coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Tuesday, November 28th. They set a “buy” rating and a $64.00 price target for the company. BMO Capital Markets set a $70.00 target price on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 18th. SunTrust Banks raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and lifted their target price for the company from $54.00 to $72.00 in a research note on Tuesday, January 16th. Sanford C. Bernstein reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $64.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Wednesday, November 15th. Finally, Jefferies Group cut Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to an “underperform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 1st. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $66.88.

The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57, a current ratio of 1.43 and a quick ratio of 1.16. The stock has a market cap of $151,020.00, a PE ratio of 59.60, a PEG ratio of 2.46 and a beta of 0.75.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.94 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $10.43 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.48 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.89 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. equities analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.15 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 6th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, March 15th will be given a $0.48 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, March 14th. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.46%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 206.45%.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its board has initiated a stock buyback program on Tuesday, November 28th that authorizes the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are generally a sign that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

Large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Perennial Advisors LLC boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.7% in the 2nd quarter. Perennial Advisors LLC now owns 1,626 shares of the company’s stock worth $104,000 after purchasing an additional 157 shares during the last quarter. Stelac Advisory Services LLC bought a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the second quarter worth about $104,000. Santori & Peters Inc. bought a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the fourth quarter worth about $110,000. NewSquare Capital LLC lifted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 728.3% during the third quarter. NewSquare Capital LLC now owns 14,801 shares of the company’s stock worth $115,000 after acquiring an additional 13,014 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Stevens First Principles Investment Advisors lifted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 79.3% during the fourth quarter. Stevens First Principles Investment Advisors now owns 2,080 shares of the company’s stock worth $117,000 after acquiring an additional 920 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.85% of the company’s stock.

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About Merck & Co., Inc.

Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services and Alliances. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.

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