Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) Shares Acquired by HBW Advisory Services LLC

HBW Advisory Services LLC raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1,316.7% during the third quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 38,294 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 35,591 shares during the period. Merck & Co., Inc. accounts for approximately 1.3% of HBW Advisory Services LLC’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 24th biggest holding. HBW Advisory Services LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $3,176,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other hedge funds have also modified their holdings of the company. Investors Financial Group LLC increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 19.7% during the third quarter. Investors Financial Group LLC now owns 8,187 shares of the company’s stock worth $679,000 after purchasing an additional 1,348 shares in the last quarter. Chapman Investment Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the third quarter worth $688,000. Avantax Advisory Services Inc. increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 82.2% during the third quarter. Avantax Advisory Services Inc. now owns 128,940 shares of the company’s stock worth $10,680,000 after purchasing an additional 58,179 shares in the last quarter. Boston Trust Walden Corp increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.7% during the third quarter. Boston Trust Walden Corp now owns 656,291 shares of the company’s stock worth $54,439,000 after purchasing an additional 4,455 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Stock Yards Bank & Trust Co. increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.2% during the third quarter. Stock Yards Bank & Trust Co. now owns 46,113 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,825,000 after purchasing an additional 529 shares in the last quarter. 73.18% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

NYSE:MRK opened at $79.83 on Friday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a one year low of $65.25 and a one year high of $92.64. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.94, a quick ratio of 1.05 and a current ratio of 1.32. The firm has a market cap of $201.91 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.47, a PEG ratio of 2.10 and a beta of 0.43. The firm’s fifty day moving average is $83.27 and its two-hundred day moving average is $80.42.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 31st. The company reported $1.37 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.23. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 22.20% and a return on equity of 52.94%. The company had revenue of $10.87 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.52 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $1.30 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was down 7.6% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, equities research analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 5.68 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, October 7th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, September 15th were paid a dividend of $0.61 per share. This represents a $2.44 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.06%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, September 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is currently 47.01%.

In other news, EVP Frank Clyburn sold 18,876 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $81.55, for a total transaction of $1,539,337.80. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 99,639 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $8,125,560.45. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, CFO Robert M. Davis sold 251,273 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $81.03, for a total transaction of $20,360,651.19. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 422,329 shares in the company, valued at $34,221,318.87. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 280,529 shares of company stock worth $22,761,633. Corporate insiders own 0.28% of the company’s stock.

A number of equities analysts have recently issued reports on the company. Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Tuesday, August 4th. Mizuho reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Tuesday, September 22nd. JPMorgan Chase & Co. upped their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $98.00 to $105.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday. ValuEngine downgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 1st. Finally, SVB Leerink upped their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $95.00 to $100.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Tuesday, August 25th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co., Inc. currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $95.08.

Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, intra-abdominal, fungal infection, insomnia, and inflammatory diseases.

Further Reading: Insider Trading

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

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