Kings Point Capital Management lowered its position in shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 23.5% during the third quarter, according to its most recent filing with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 39,295 shares of the company’s stock after selling 12,073 shares during the period. Kings Point Capital Management’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $2,452,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.
A number of other hedge funds have also recently modified their holdings of MRK. Ameriprise Financial Inc. raised its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 24.1% in the second quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 22,992,642 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,324,996,000 after buying an additional 4,468,488 shares in the last quarter. Bank of Montreal Can bought a new position in shares of Merck & Co. during the second quarter valued at $250,542,000. Boston Partners raised its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 23.8% in the second quarter. Boston Partners now owns 19,034,299 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,096,566,000 after buying an additional 3,655,639 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 1.9% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 174,819,694 shares of the company’s stock valued at $10,071,362,000 after buying an additional 3,242,254 shares in the last quarter. Finally, BlackRock Fund Advisors raised its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 4.0% in the second quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 44,732,600 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,577,045,000 after buying an additional 1,701,520 shares in the last quarter. 72.40% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded down 1.37% during mid-day trading on Thursday, reaching $60.33. 11,252,688 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. Merck & Co. has a 12-month low of $47.97 and a 12-month high of $65.46. The company has a market cap of $166.34 billion, a P/E ratio of 30.81 and a beta of 0.77. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $60.69 and a 200 day moving average of $61.30.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, October 25th. The company reported $1.07 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.99 by $0.08. The company earned $10.50 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.17 billion. Merck & Co. had a net margin of 13.76% and a return on equity of 24.25%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 4.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.96 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts predict that Merck & Co. will post $3.79 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, January 9th. Investors of record on Thursday, December 15th were given a dividend of $0.47 per share. This represents a $1.88 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.07%. This is a positive change from Merck & Co.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.46. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, December 13th. Merck & Co.’s payout ratio is 95.92%.
A number of equities research analysts recently weighed in on the stock. Argus restated a “buy” rating and issued a $80.00 target price (up previously from $65.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Thursday, October 27th. Vetr lowered shares of Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $57.17 target price on the stock. in a report on Wednesday, December 14th. Piper Jaffray Cos. upgraded shares of Merck & Co. from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and set a $72.00 target price on the stock in a report on Thursday, January 12th. Jefferies Group restated an “underperform” rating and issued a $48.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Thursday, January 12th. Finally, Guggenheim upgraded shares of Merck & Co. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their target price for the stock from $61.63 to $70.00 in a report on Thursday, January 12th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $66.34.
In other Merck & Co. news, Director Rochelle B. Lazarus sold 20,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $59.06, for a total value of $1,181,200.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 9,594 shares in the company, valued at $566,621.64. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 85,523 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $60.02, for a total transaction of $5,133,090.46. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 77,762 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,667,275.24. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 245,523 shares of company stock valued at $15,418,490 over the last 90 days. 0.05% of the stock is currently owned by company 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.
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