Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) Shares Sold by Investment Counsel Inc.

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%.

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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.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Merck & (NYSE:MRK)

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