Atwood & Palmer Inc. decreased its holdings in Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 34.6% in the 1st quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The fund owned 4,300 shares of the company’s stock after selling 2,274 shares during the quarter. Atwood & Palmer Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $234,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
A number of other large investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Cedar Capital LLC increased its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 25.2% in the fourth quarter. Cedar Capital LLC now owns 4,273 shares of the company’s stock valued at $240,000 after buying an additional 859 shares in the last quarter. Pegasus Asset Management Inc. increased its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 4.2% in the first quarter. Pegasus Asset Management Inc. now owns 21,794 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,187,000 after buying an additional 873 shares in the last quarter. Courier Capital LLC increased its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 1.1% in the fourth quarter. Courier Capital LLC now owns 82,677 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,652,000 after buying an additional 880 shares in the last quarter. San Francisco Sentry Investment Group CA increased its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 3.6% in the fourth quarter. San Francisco Sentry Investment Group CA now owns 25,156 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,416,000 after buying an additional 885 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Outfitter Advisors LTD. increased its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 1.6% in the first quarter. Outfitter Advisors LTD. now owns 55,998 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,050,000 after buying an additional 890 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.14% of the company’s stock.
Shares of NYSE:MRK opened at $59.09 on Friday. The company has a current ratio of 1.42, a quick ratio of 1.10 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.63. Merck & Co. has a 12-month low of $52.83 and a 12-month high of $66.41. The stock has a market capitalization of $159.43 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.85, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.25 and a beta of 0.76.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, May 1st. The company reported $1.05 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.00 by $0.05. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 30.93% and a net margin of 4.31%. The firm had revenue of $10.04 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.09 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.88 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 6.4% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts expect that Merck & Co. will post 4.23 earnings per share for the current year.
The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 9th. Shareholders of record on Friday, June 15th will be paid a $0.48 dividend. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.25%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, June 14th. Merck & Co.’s payout ratio is 48.24%.
In other Merck & Co. news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 24,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, April 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $58.00, for a total value of $1,392,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 9,972 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $59.66, for a total value of $594,929.52. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.
A number of brokerages have recently weighed in on MRK. Jefferies Group set a $55.00 price target on Merck & Co. and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, March 23rd. ValuEngine lowered Merck & Co. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. DZ Bank raised Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, February 13th. Morgan Stanley increased their price objective on Merck & Co. from $60.00 to $63.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 7th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group decreased their price objective on Merck & Co. from $67.00 to $66.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, February 5th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and fourteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $65.87.
Merck & Co. 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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