Coho Partners Ltd. Lowers Holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

Coho Partners Ltd. decreased its position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 8.1% in the 4th quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 2,008,188 shares of the company’s stock after selling 176,364 shares during the period. Merck & Co., Inc. accounts for approximately 2.8% of Coho Partners Ltd.’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 22nd largest position. Coho Partners Ltd. owned 0.07% of Merck & Co., Inc. worth $113,001,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other institutional investors have also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Northern Capital Management LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 74.7% in the 4th quarter. Northern Capital Management LLC now owns 21,529 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,211,000 after acquiring an additional 9,205 shares during the last quarter. Lee Financial Group Hawaii Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 4th quarter worth approximately $1,145,000. Conning Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 15.2% in the 4th quarter. Conning Inc. now owns 715,955 shares of the company’s stock worth $40,287,000 after acquiring an additional 94,610 shares during the last quarter. MAI Capital Management lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 22.9% in the 4th quarter. MAI Capital Management now owns 70,861 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,987,000 after acquiring an additional 13,207 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Court Place Advisors LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 52.0% in the 4th quarter. Court Place Advisors LLC now owns 43,227 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,432,000 after acquiring an additional 14,779 shares during the last quarter. 74.63% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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Shares of NYSE:MRK opened at $53.36 on Friday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52 week low of $52.83 and a 52 week high of $66.41. The company has a current ratio of 1.33, a quick ratio of 1.06 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.62. The company has a market capitalization of $147,050.20, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.41, a PEG ratio of 2.30 and a beta of 0.78.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.94 by $0.04. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 6.40% and a return on equity of 28.61%. The company had revenue of $10.43 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.48 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.89 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 3.1% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.16 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, April 6th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 15th were given a $0.48 dividend. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.60%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, March 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 48.24%.

MRK has been the topic of several recent analyst reports. BMO Capital Markets set a $68.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, December 13th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 10th. SunTrust Banks upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their price objective for the stock from $54.00 to $72.00 in a report on Tuesday, January 16th. Barclays upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and upped their price objective for the stock from $62.00 to $64.00 in a report on Thursday. Finally, Jefferies Group set a $56.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, February 26th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the company. Merck & Co., Inc. currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $66.47.

In related news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, January 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $58.00, for a total value of $290,000.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 101,484 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $5,886,072. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total transaction of $3,697,800.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 101,484 shares in the company, valued at $6,254,458.92. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 82,500 shares of company stock worth $5,026,025. Insiders own 0.25% 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.

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

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