Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC Invests $4.92 Million in Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Stock

Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) during the 3rd quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund acquired 76,872 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,922,000.

Several other large investors also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio increased its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.4% during the 3rd quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 1,916,777 shares of the company’s stock worth $122,731,000 after purchasing an additional 6,997 shares during the period. Coastline Trust Co increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 5.5% in the third quarter. Coastline Trust Co now owns 60,579 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,878,000 after acquiring an additional 3,180 shares during the period. Truepoint Inc. increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 5,875.5% in the third quarter. Truepoint Inc. now owns 252,224 shares of the company’s stock valued at $252,000 after acquiring an additional 248,003 shares during the period. Pura Vida Investments LLC increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 54.6% in the third quarter. Pura Vida Investments LLC now owns 154,570 shares of the company’s stock valued at $9,897,000 after acquiring an additional 54,570 shares during the period. Finally, Americafirst Capital Management LLC bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the third quarter valued at about $686,000. Institutional investors own 72.85% of the company’s stock.

In other news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, January 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $58.00, for a total transaction of $290,000.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 101,484 shares in the company, valued at $5,886,072. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Michael J. Holston sold 12,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, January 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total transaction of $770,375.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 82,500 shares of company stock worth $5,026,025 over the last ninety days. Insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.

A number of analysts recently weighed in on MRK shares. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $70.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Sunday, October 29th. BMO Capital Markets set a $70.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 18th. Citigroup raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, October 18th. UBS Group lowered their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $72.00 to $67.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, October 30th. Finally, 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. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co., Inc. presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $66.41.

Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) opened at $54.90 on Wednesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57, a quick ratio of 1.16 and a current ratio of 1.43. The firm has a market cap of $151,015.55, a PE ratio of 59.03, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.49 and a beta of 0.75. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52 week low of $53.36 and a 52 week high of $66.80.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.94 by $0.04. The firm had revenue of $10.43 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.48 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 6.40% and a return on equity of 27.73%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 3.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.89 earnings per share. sell-side analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.15 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 6th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.48 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 14th. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.50%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is 206.45%.

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Merck & Co., Inc. Profile

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

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