BKD Wealth Advisors LLC Decreases Stake in Merck & Company, Inc. (MRK)

BKD Wealth Advisors LLC decreased its position in shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 6.2% during the first quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 18,206 shares of the company’s stock after selling 1,205 shares during the period. BKD Wealth Advisors LLC’s holdings in Merck & Company were worth $1,157,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Hays Advisory LLC increased its position in Merck & Company by 10.4% in the first quarter. Hays Advisory LLC now owns 4,083 shares of the company’s stock worth $259,000 after buying an additional 385 shares in the last quarter. North American Management Corp boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Company by 4.1% in the first quarter. North American Management Corp now owns 152,565 shares of the company’s stock worth $9,694,000 after buying an additional 5,985 shares during the last quarter. Visionary Asset Management Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Company by 2.4% in the first quarter. Visionary Asset Management Inc. now owns 56,560 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,594,000 after buying an additional 1,301 shares during the last quarter. Prospera Financial Services Inc boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Company by 8.6% in the first quarter. Prospera Financial Services Inc now owns 12,241 shares of the company’s stock worth $778,000 after buying an additional 966 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Stokes & Hubbell Capital Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Company during the first quarter worth approximately $213,000. 73.82% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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

Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) traded up 1.13% during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $63.68. 8,426,878 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $63.95 and its 200-day moving average price is $63.08. Merck & Company, Inc. has a one year low of $55.10 and a one year high of $66.80. The stock has a market cap of $174.18 billion, a PE ratio of 40.59 and a beta of 0.86.

Merck & Company (NYSE:MRK) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, May 2nd. The company reported $0.88 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.83 by $0.05. The firm had revenue of $9.43 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.25 billion. Merck & Company had a return on equity of 24.99% and a net margin of 15.32%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $0.89 earnings per share. On average, analysts forecast that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.84 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 10th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, June 15th will be issued a $0.47 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, June 13th. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.95%. Merck & Company’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 85.84%.

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MRK has been the topic of several recent analyst reports. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Merck & Company from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $73.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Friday, May 26th. BMO Capital Markets restated a “buy” rating and set a $74.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Company in a research report on Tuesday, June 6th. Vetr raised shares of Merck & Company from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $69.31 target price on the stock in a report on Wednesday, March 8th. Leerink Swann reaffirmed a “market perform” rating on shares of Merck & Company in a report on Monday, March 20th. Finally, Cowen and Company reissued a “market perform” rating and issued a $68.00 price target on shares of Merck & Company in a report on Tuesday, April 11th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $69.22.

In other Merck & Company news, Director C Robert Kidder sold 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, May 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $63.54, for a total transaction of $317,700.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 14,317 shares in the company, valued at approximately $909,702.18. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 53,850 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, April 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $63.48, for a total value of $3,418,398.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.

Merck & Company 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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