E&G Advisors LP lowered its stake in shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 9.8% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The fund owned 24,860 shares of the company’s stock after selling 2,695 shares during the period. Merck & Co. comprises approximately 0.9% of E&G Advisors LP’s holdings, making the stock its 23rd largest position. E&G Advisors LP’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $1,432,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
Other institutional investors also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Orbis Allan Gray Ltd bought a new position in Merck & Co. during the first quarter valued at approximately $239,761,000. Bank of Montreal Can bought a new position in Merck & Co. during the second quarter valued at approximately $250,542,000. NN Investment Partners Holdings N.V. bought a new position in Merck & Co. during the first quarter valued at approximately $174,068,000. Los Angeles Capital Management & Equity Research Inc. raised its position in Merck & Co. by 249.7% in the first quarter. Los Angeles Capital Management & Equity Research Inc. now owns 2,288,444 shares of the company’s stock valued at $121,082,000 after buying an additional 1,634,004 shares during the period. Finally, OMERS ADMINISTRATION Corp bought a new position in Merck & Co. during the first quarter valued at approximately $67,685,000. 72.93% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded up 1.38% during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $62.51. The stock had a trading volume of 14,541,462 shares. Merck & Co. has a 1-year low of $47.97 and a 1-year high of $64.86. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $62.58 and a 200 day moving average price of $58.61. The company has a market cap of $172.85 billion, a P/E ratio of 34.29 and a beta of 0.68.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. The business had revenue of $9.84 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.79 billion. Merck & Co. had a net margin of 13.01% and a return on equity of 23.41%. The firm’s revenue was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.86 EPS. Equities research analysts forecast that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th were given a $0.46 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.94%. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 101.10%.
MRK has been the subject of several recent research reports. Citigroup Inc. reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and set a $65.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Wednesday, August 10th. BMO Capital Markets raised Merck & Co. from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and upped their target price for the company from $62.00 to $72.00 in a report on Friday, August 5th. Morgan Stanley set a $60.00 target price on Merck & Co. and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, September 13th. Vetr raised Merck & Co. from a “sell” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $62.26 price objective for the company in a report on Monday, July 4th. Finally, Barclays PLC increased their price objective on Merck & Co. from $66.00 to $72.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, September 9th. Twelve research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of €64.74 ($71.93).
In other Merck & Co. news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of €61.81 ($68.68), for a total transaction of €24,229,520.00 ($26,921,688.89). Following the sale, the chairman now directly owns 760,877 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately €47,029,807.37 ($52,255,341.52). The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of €62.07 ($68.97), for a total transaction of €2,532,456.00 ($2,813,840.00). Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 128,973 shares in the company, valued at €8,005,354.11 ($8,894,837.90). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.05% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.
About Merck & Co.
Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, which it markets directly and through its joint ventures. It operates through one segment, Pharmaceutical. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.