Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) Shares Bought by Aristotle Atlantic Partners LLC

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Aristotle Atlantic Partners LLC grew its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 14,083.9% during the 2nd quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 695,010 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 690,110 shares during the quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. accounts for approximately 14.6% of Aristotle Atlantic Partners LLC’s investment portfolio, making the stock its biggest holding. Aristotle Atlantic Partners LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $42,185,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other institutional investors have also recently bought and sold shares of MRK. Taylor Wealth Management Partners purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the second quarter worth $110,000. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV grew its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 155.2% in the second quarter. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV now owns 1,832 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after acquiring an additional 1,114 shares in the last quarter. Clearwater Capital Advisors LLC purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the first quarter worth $103,000. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. grew its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 208.4% in the first quarter. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. now owns 1,983 shares of the company’s stock worth $108,000 after acquiring an additional 1,340 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Well Done LLC purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the first quarter worth $115,000. 72.32% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

In related news, insider Roger M. Perlmutter sold 225,443 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.27, for a total transaction of $16,969,094.61. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 366,998 shares in the company, valued at $27,623,939.46. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 36,218 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.14, for a total transaction of $2,721,420.52. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 82,481 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,197,622.34. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 1,279,104 shares of company stock worth $92,845,846. Corporate insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

MRK has been the subject of several research reports. SunTrust Banks boosted their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $77.00 to $80.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, October 29th. Citigroup boosted their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $79.00 to $84.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 31st. Bank of America upped their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $74.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, July 30th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $80.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Monday, October 8th. Finally, Morgan Stanley set a $74.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 23rd. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $71.92.

MRK traded down $0.62 during midday trading on Friday, reaching $74.86. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 14,656,305 shares, compared to its average volume of 13,659,816. The stock has a market cap of $202.43 billion, a PE ratio of 18.81, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.04 and a beta of 0.73. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a quick ratio of 1.04 and a current ratio of 1.44. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1 year low of $52.83 and a 1 year high of $75.99.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 8.44% and a return on equity of 34.48%. The business had revenue of $10.79 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.87 billion. Equities research analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 EPS for the current year.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase program on Thursday, October 25th that allows the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to repurchase up to 5.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are often a sign that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Stockholders of record on Monday, December 17th will be issued a dividend of $0.55 per share. This is a boost from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. The ex-dividend date is Friday, December 14th. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.94%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 48.24%.

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Merck & Co., Inc. Profile

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates in four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, asthma, nasal allergy symptoms, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, fungal, intra-abdominal infections, hypertension, arthritis and pain, inflammatory, osteoporosis, and fertility diseases.

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

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