US Bancorp DE trimmed its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.3% during the 3rd quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The institutional investor owned 2,140,931 shares of the company’s stock after selling 28,034 shares during the period. US Bancorp DE’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $151,878,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also modified their holdings of the company. Taylor Wealth Management Partners bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter valued at $110,000. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC boosted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 86.5% during the 3rd quarter. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 1,656 shares of the company’s stock valued at $117,000 after acquiring an additional 768 shares in the last quarter. WESPAC Advisors SoCal LLC bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 3rd quarter valued at $118,000. Atlantic Trust LLC bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter valued at $127,000. Finally, Squar Milner Financial Services LLC bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter valued at $133,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.72% of the company’s stock.
Several analysts have issued reports on the company. Citigroup increased their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $79.00 to $84.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 31st. SunTrust Banks raised their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $77.00 to $80.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, October 29th. Wolfe Research began coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Tuesday, October 23rd. They issued an “outperform” rating for the company. BMO Capital Markets raised their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $82.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Monday, October 22nd. Finally, ValuEngine raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 18th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $73.65.
In related news, insider Roger M. Perlmutter sold 225,443 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.27, for a total value of $16,969,094.61. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 366,998 shares in the company, valued at approximately $27,623,939.46. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. bought 666,666 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 1st. The stock was purchased at an average price of $15.00 per share, with a total value of $9,999,990.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 1,279,104 shares of company stock valued at $92,845,846 in the last 90 days. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.
Shares of MRK stock opened at $78.21 on Wednesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $213.92 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.65, a PEG ratio of 2.15 and a beta of 0.71. The company has a quick ratio of 1.15, a current ratio of 1.44 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1 year low of $52.83 and a 1 year high of $80.19.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. The company had revenue of $10.79 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.87 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 34.48% and a net margin of 8.44%. Analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Investors of record on Monday, December 17th will be paid a $0.55 dividend. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 14th. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.81%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 48.24%.
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 shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to buy up to 5.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are generally a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.
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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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