New England Professional Planning Group Inc. Invests $591,000 in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

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New England Professional Planning Group Inc. bought a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) in the 4th quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm bought 6,489 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $591,000. Merck & Co., Inc. makes up 0.5% of New England Professional Planning Group Inc.’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 18th biggest position.

Other institutional investors and hedge funds have also modified their holdings of the company. Smith Asset Management Group LP lifted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 203.3% in the 2nd quarter. Smith Asset Management Group LP now owns 475,357 shares of the company’s stock valued at $39,859,000 after acquiring an additional 318,627 shares during the last quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 67.7% in the 2nd quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 6,381,329 shares of the company’s stock worth $535,075,000 after purchasing an additional 2,576,060 shares during the period. Bernardo Wealth Planning LLC increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.3% in the 2nd quarter. Bernardo Wealth Planning LLC now owns 18,478 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,549,000 after purchasing an additional 231 shares during the period. Jacobs Levy Equity Management Inc. increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 584.8% in the 2nd quarter. Jacobs Levy Equity Management Inc. now owns 65,060 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,455,000 after purchasing an additional 55,560 shares during the period. Finally, ETF Managers Group LLC bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the second quarter valued at approximately $198,000. 74.50% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

In related news, EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 102,073 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, January 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $89.34, for a total value of $9,119,201.82. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 106,099 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $9,478,884.66. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. 0.27% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Shares of MRK stock opened at $91.54 on Thursday. The firm has a market capitalization of $228.96 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.09, a PEG ratio of 1.80 and a beta of 0.52. The stock has a fifty day moving average of $89.80 and a 200 day moving average of $85.55. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52 week low of $72.05 and a 52 week high of $92.64. The company has a quick ratio of 0.98, a current ratio of 1.26 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.84.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 29th. The company reported $1.51 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.24 by $0.27. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 20.26% and a return on equity of 48.16%. The business had revenue of $12.40 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $11.59 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $1.19 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 14.9% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 5.15 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, January 8th. Investors of record on Monday, December 16th were given a dividend of $0.61 per share. The ex-dividend date was Friday, December 13th. This represents a $2.44 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.67%. This is a boost from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.55. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is currently 56.22%.

A number of research firms have recently weighed in on MRK. Cantor Fitzgerald reissued a “buy” rating and set a $95.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Wednesday, January 8th. Morgan Stanley lifted their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $90.00 to $95.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 13th. ValuEngine lowered shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday. Royal Bank of Canada assumed coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Monday, January 6th. They set a “sector perform” rating and a $99.00 price target for the company. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $96.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, October 10th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $95.69.

Merck & Co., Inc. Profile

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, intra-abdominal, fungal infection, insomnia, and inflammatory diseases.

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

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