Investment Counsel Inc. lowered its position in shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 12.9% during the first quarter, according to its most recent filing with the SEC. The fund owned 41,039 shares of the company’s stock after selling 6,075 shares during the period. Merck & accounts for approximately 2.2% of Investment Counsel Inc.’s portfolio, making the stock its 18th largest position. Investment Counsel Inc.’s holdings in Merck & were worth $2,608,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
A number of other large investors have also bought and sold shares of MRK. Intellectus Partners LLC acquired a new stake in Merck & during the fourth quarter worth approximately $103,000. Gradient Investments LLC boosted its stake in shares of Merck & by 41.3% in the first quarter. Gradient Investments LLC now owns 2,306 shares of the company’s stock valued at $147,000 after buying an additional 674 shares during the period. Pinnacle Bank purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & during the first quarter valued at about $152,000. Tortoise Investment Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of Merck & by 50.6% in the fourth quarter. Tortoise Investment Management LLC now owns 2,678 shares of the company’s stock valued at $158,000 after buying an additional 900 shares during the period. Finally, Thomas J. Herzfeld Advisors Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & during the fourth quarter valued at about $159,000. 73.76% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
Merck & Company, Inc. (MRK) traded down 0.49% during trading on Friday, hitting $62.63. The company had a trading volume of 6,906,447 shares. Merck & Company, Inc. has a 52-week low of $57.18 and a 52-week high of $66.80. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $63.98 and its 200-day moving average is $63.62. The stock has a market capitalization of $171.30 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 39.92 and a beta of 0.81.
Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, May 2nd. The company reported $0.88 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.83 by $0.05. Merck & had a net margin of 15.32% and a return on equity of 24.99%. The firm had revenue of $9.43 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.25 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.89 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 1.3% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts forecast that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.85 earnings per share for the current year.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, July 10th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, June 15th were paid a dividend of $0.47 per share. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, June 13th. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.00%. Merck &’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 85.84%.
Several equities research analysts have recently issued reports on MRK shares. J P Morgan Chase & Co lifted their target price on Merck & from $74.00 to $76.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Thursday, May 11th. Credit Suisse Group AG reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Merck & in a research note on Tuesday, June 13th. Vetr raised Merck & from a “sell” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $71.50 price objective on the stock in a research note on Monday, May 15th. HSBC Holdings plc cut Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “reduce” rating in a research note on Friday, April 7th. Finally, Cowen and Company reissued a “market perform” rating and set a $70.00 price objective (up from $68.00) on shares of Merck & in a research note on Thursday, May 11th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $69.63.
In other Merck & news, Director C Robert Kidder sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, May 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $63.54, for a total transaction of $317,700.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 14,317 shares in the company, valued at approximately $909,702.18. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.
Merck & Company Profile
Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services and Alliances. 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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