Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) Shares Sold by Wakefield Asset Management LLLP

Wakefield Asset Management LLLP trimmed its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRKGet Rating) by 1.2% during the third quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The firm owned 30,988 shares of the company’s stock after selling 370 shares during the period. Merck & Co., Inc. comprises about 1.2% of Wakefield Asset Management LLLP’s portfolio, making the stock its 16th biggest position. Wakefield Asset Management LLLP’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $2,670,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other institutional investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. EdgeRock Capital LLC acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 3rd quarter worth about $30,000. TFO TDC LLC purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the second quarter valued at approximately $31,000. Moisand Fitzgerald Tamayo LLC raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 69.9% during the second quarter. Moisand Fitzgerald Tamayo LLC now owns 367 shares of the company’s stock worth $33,000 after purchasing an additional 151 shares in the last quarter. New Millennium Group LLC acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the second quarter worth approximately $35,000. Finally, Horizons Wealth Management purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $42,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.89% of the company’s stock.

Merck & Co., Inc. Stock Performance

Shares of NYSE:MRK traded up $0.58 during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $109.10. The stock had a trading volume of 496,804 shares, compared to its average volume of 8,450,138. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1 year low of $72.88 and a 1 year high of $115.49. The company has a current ratio of 1.46, a quick ratio of 1.22 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.64. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $109.70 and a two-hundred day moving average price of $97.76. The company has a market capitalization of $276.61 billion, a PE ratio of 18.06, a P/E/G ratio of 1.38 and a beta of 0.39.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRKGet Rating) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 27th. The company reported $1.85 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.67 by $0.18. The company had revenue of $14.96 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $14.05 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 46.57% and a net margin of 25.88%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 13.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $1.75 EPS. As a group, equities analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 7.4 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Merck & Co., Inc. Increases Dividend

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, January 9th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, December 15th were given a $0.73 dividend. This is a boost from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.69. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, December 14th. This represents a $2.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.68%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 48.59%.

Insider Buying and Selling at Merck & Co., Inc.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, insider Sanat Chattopadhyay sold 83,994 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, January 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $112.29, for a total transaction of $9,431,686.26. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 29,500 shares in the company, valued at $3,312,555. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. In related news, insider Johannes Jacobus Oosthuizen sold 1,795 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $103.21, for a total value of $185,261.95. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 16,731 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,726,806.51. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, insider Sanat Chattopadhyay sold 83,994 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction dated Monday, January 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $112.29, for a total transaction of $9,431,686.26. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 29,500 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,312,555. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders sold 1,165,809 shares of company stock valued at $118,007,120. 0.29% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Analysts Set New Price Targets

MRK has been the topic of several research analyst reports. Barclays lifted their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $110.00 to $128.00 in a research note on Tuesday, December 20th. Cantor Fitzgerald upped their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $120.00 to $135.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Monday, December 19th. Mizuho lifted their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $100.00 to $130.00 in a research report on Thursday, December 15th. Wells Fargo & Company boosted their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $110.00 to $125.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 3rd. Finally, SVB Leerink raised their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $112.00 to $120.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Monday. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, fourteen have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. According to MarketBeat, the stock currently has a consensus rating of “Moderate Buy” and an average price target of $113.83.

About Merck & Co., Inc.

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Merck & Co, Inc operates as a healthcare company worldwide. It operates through two segments, Pharmaceutical and Animal Health. The Pharmaceutical segment offers human health pharmaceutical products in the areas of oncology, hospital acute care, immunology, neuroscience, virology, cardiovascular, and diabetes, as well as vaccine products, such as preventive pediatric, adolescent, and adult vaccines.

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

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