Independent Portfolio Consultants Inc. lowered its position in shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 9.1% during the third quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 21,144 shares of the company’s stock after selling 2,110 shares during the period. Independent Portfolio Consultants Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $1,320,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Other hedge funds also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Acrospire Investment Management LLC increased its stake in Merck & Co. by 5.9% in the second quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 1,800 shares of the company’s stock worth $104,000 after buying an additional 100 shares during the last quarter. Roble Belko & Company Inc increased its stake in Merck & Co. by 124.7% in the second quarter. Roble Belko & Company Inc now owns 1,802 shares of the company’s stock worth $104,000 after buying an additional 1,000 shares during the last quarter. Americafirst Capital Management LLC bought a new stake in Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth $115,000. NewSquare Capital LLC increased its stake in Merck & Co. by 14.2% in the second quarter. NewSquare Capital LLC now owns 2,104 shares of the company’s stock worth $121,000 after buying an additional 261 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Pinkerton Retirement Specialists LLC increased its stake in Merck & Co. by 1,925.2% in the second quarter. Pinkerton Retirement Specialists LLC now owns 2,248 shares of the company’s stock worth $130,000 after buying an additional 2,137 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.25% of the company’s stock.
Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded up 0.92% on Friday, reaching $62.21. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 3,501,268 shares. Merck & Co. has a 12-month low of $47.97 and a 12-month high of $65.46. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $61.63 and its 200 day moving average price is $60.02. The company has a market cap of $171.52 billion, a P/E ratio of 31.77 and a beta of 0.76.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 25th. The company reported $1.07 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.99 by $0.08. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 24.25% and a net margin of 13.76%. The firm earned $10.50 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.17 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.96 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 4.6% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts forecast that Merck & Co. will post $3.78 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, January 9th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, December 15th will be issued a $0.47 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, December 13th. This represents a $1.88 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.02%. This is an increase from Merck & Co.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.46. Merck & Co.’s payout ratio is currently 93.88%.
MRK has been the subject of a number of research analyst reports. Argus reissued a “buy” rating and set a $80.00 price target (up previously from $65.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Thursday, October 27th. Vetr raised Merck & Co. from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $65.80 price target for the company in a report on Monday, November 7th. BMO Capital Markets reissued a “market perform” rating and set a $62.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Tuesday, August 2nd. Zacks Investment Research raised Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $70.00 price target for the company in a report on Thursday, November 17th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Cos. reissued a “neutral” rating and set a $62.00 price target (up previously from $58.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Monday, August 8th. Thirteen analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $66.24.
In other news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $62.07, for a total value of $2,532,456.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 128,973 shares in the company, valued at $8,005,354.11. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 39,200 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $62.61, for a total value of $2,454,312.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 39,200 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,454,312. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.05% of the stock is owned by 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.