FCG Advisors LLC bought a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) during the 3rd quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor bought 3,356 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $238,000.
Several other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Taylor Wealth Management Partners acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth about $110,000. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 86.5% during the 3rd quarter. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 1,656 shares of the company’s stock worth $117,000 after buying an additional 768 shares in the last quarter. WESPAC Advisors SoCal LLC acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 3rd quarter worth about $118,000. Atlantic Trust LLC acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth about $127,000. Finally, Squar Milner Financial Services LLC acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth about $133,000. 72.72% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
Merck & Co., Inc. stock opened at $76.72 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a quick ratio of 1.15 and a current ratio of 1.44. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1 year low of $52.83 and a 1 year high of $80.19. The stock has a market cap of $210.87 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.28, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.13 and a beta of 0.71.
The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 17th will be given a dividend of $0.55 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 14th. This is an increase from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.87%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 48.24%.
Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase plan on Thursday, October 25th that authorizes the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to purchase up to 5.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are often an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.
Several research analysts recently issued reports on MRK shares. SunTrust Banks reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $77.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Thursday, August 16th. Morgan Stanley set a $74.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 23rd. Barclays upped their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $75.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, September 7th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $79.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, September 26th. Finally, Guggenheim started coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Monday, October 8th. They set a “buy” rating on the stock. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $73.65.
In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 36,218 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated 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 directly owns 82,481 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,197,622.34. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Roger M. Perlmutter sold 225,443 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.27, for a total value of $16,969,094.61. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 366,998 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $27,623,939.46. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders have sold 1,279,104 shares of company stock worth $92,845,846. Corporate insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.
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Merck & Co., Inc. Company 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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