Bogart Wealth LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 2.4% during the 3rd quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The fund owned 35,157 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 821 shares during the period. Merck & Co., Inc. makes up 1.4% of Bogart Wealth LLC’s portfolio, making the stock its 6th largest position. Bogart Wealth LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $2,494,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission.
A number of other hedge funds also recently modified their holdings of the stock. Principal Financial Group Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.0% during the first quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 7,202,189 shares of the company’s stock valued at $392,303,000 after acquiring an additional 209,459 shares in the last quarter. Tiemann Investment Advisors LLC increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 14.7% in the 1st quarter. Tiemann Investment Advisors LLC now owns 12,166 shares of the company’s stock worth $663,000 after buying an additional 1,559 shares in the last quarter. Green Square Capital LLC increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 12.4% in the 1st quarter. Green Square Capital LLC now owns 143,905 shares of the company’s stock worth $7,906,000 after buying an additional 15,850 shares in the last quarter. Crawford Investment Counsel Inc. increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 4.7% in the 1st quarter. Crawford Investment Counsel Inc. now owns 1,442,664 shares of the company’s stock worth $78,582,000 after buying an additional 65,270 shares in the last quarter. Finally, A.R.T. Advisors LLC bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the 1st quarter worth about $4,187,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.32% of the company’s stock.
In related news, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. acquired 666,666 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 1st. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $15.00 per share, with a total value of $9,999,990.00. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, SVP Ashley Watson sold 47,036 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, October 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $74.33, for a total value of $3,496,185.88. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 32,990 shares in the company, valued at $2,452,146.70. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 1,279,104 shares of company stock worth $92,845,846. Insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.
Merck & Co., Inc. stock opened at $74.86 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of $197.66 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.81, a PEG ratio of 1.99 and a beta of 0.73. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52-week low of $52.83 and a 52-week high of $75.99. The company has a quick ratio of 1.04, a current ratio of 1.33 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. The business had revenue of $10.79 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.87 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 34.20% and a net margin of 8.44%. On average, sell-side analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its board has authorized a share buyback plan on Thursday, October 25th that authorizes the company to buyback $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to purchase up to 5.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are generally an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Stockholders of record on Monday, December 17th will be given a dividend of $0.55 per share. This is a boost from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.94%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is presently 48.24%.
MRK has been the subject of several research analyst reports. Jefferies Financial Group reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $59.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Sunday, July 15th. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $70.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Sunday, July 22nd. Bank of America lifted their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $74.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, July 30th. SunTrust Banks reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $77.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Thursday, August 16th. Finally, Morgan Stanley set a $74.00 price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, August 23rd. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have given a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $71.92.
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About Merck & Co., Inc.
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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