Adam H. Schechter Sells 277,879 Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Stock

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 277,879 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $73.81, for a total transaction of $20,510,248.99. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 277,879 shares in the company, valued at approximately $20,510,248.99. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website.

Shares of MRK stock opened at $72.27 on Friday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a one year low of $52.83 and a one year high of $74.49. The company has a quick ratio of 1.04, a current ratio of 1.33 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61. The company has a market cap of $194.85 billion, a P/E ratio of 16.89, a P/E/G ratio of 1.96 and a beta of 0.73.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 8.44% and a return on equity of 34.20%. The firm had revenue of $10.79 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.87 billion. Research analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 EPS for the current year.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase program on Thursday, October 25th that authorizes the company to buyback $10.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to buy up to 5.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are usually a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Investors of record on Monday, December 17th will be given a dividend of $0.55 per share. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. The ex-dividend date is Friday, December 14th. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.04%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is 48.24%.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Financial Advocates Investment Management increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 4.4% in the first quarter. Financial Advocates Investment Management now owns 22,678 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,235,000 after acquiring an additional 947 shares in the last quarter. Jones Financial Companies Lllp increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 7.0% in the first quarter. Jones Financial Companies Lllp now owns 185,219 shares of the company’s stock worth $10,089,000 after acquiring an additional 12,161 shares in the last quarter. State of Tennessee Treasury Department increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.7% in the first quarter. State of Tennessee Treasury Department now owns 1,572,645 shares of the company’s stock worth $85,662,000 after acquiring an additional 151,387 shares in the last quarter. Godsey & Gibb Associates increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 5.7% in the first quarter. Godsey & Gibb Associates now owns 219,417 shares of the company’s stock worth $11,952,000 after acquiring an additional 11,800 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Arnhold LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the first quarter worth $3,148,000. 72.33% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Several brokerages recently issued reports on MRK. Citigroup upped their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $79.00 to $84.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday. BMO Capital Markets upped their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $82.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Monday, October 22nd. ValuEngine raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, October 18th. Wolfe Research began coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, October 23rd. They set an “outperform” rating on the stock. Finally, SunTrust Banks upped their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $77.00 to $80.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, October 29th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co., Inc. currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $71.92.

Merck & Co., Inc. Company 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.

Further Reading: Market Capitalization, Large-Caps, Mid-Caps, Small-Caps

Insider Buying and Selling by Quarter for Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

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