Trust Co. of Oklahoma trimmed its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 30.1% during the third quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 4,865 shares of the company’s stock after selling 2,095 shares during the period. Trust Co. of Oklahoma’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $345,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.
Other large investors also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Senator Investment Group LP acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the second quarter worth $285,594,000. Bank of Montreal Can acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the second quarter worth $232,626,000. Janus Henderson Group PLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 41.8% in the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 12,486,915 shares of the company’s stock worth $757,959,000 after purchasing an additional 3,682,328 shares in the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 9.2% in the second quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 38,653,047 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,346,241,000 after purchasing an additional 3,242,430 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Investec Asset Management LTD boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 4,320.3% in the second quarter. Investec Asset Management LTD now owns 3,096,008 shares of the company’s stock worth $187,928,000 after purchasing an additional 3,025,967 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.32% of the company’s stock.
In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 277,879 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $73.81, for a total value of $20,510,248.99. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 277,879 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $20,510,248.99. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 107,360 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, September 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.18, for a total value of $7,534,524.80. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 100,000 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,018,000. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 1,017,443 shares of company stock worth $73,155,331 in the last ninety days. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 34.20% and a net margin of 8.44%. The business had revenue of $10.79 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.87 billion. Research analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 EPS for the current fiscal year.
Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its board has authorized a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, October 25th that authorizes the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to buy up to 5.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are usually a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Stockholders of record on Monday, December 17th will be paid a dividend of $0.55 per share. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.00%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, December 14th. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is 48.24%.
A number of equities analysts have commented on MRK shares. Citigroup set a $79.00 price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 16th. Zacks Investment Research raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $79.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, September 26th. Guggenheim started coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Monday, October 8th. They issued a “buy” rating on the stock. Morgan Stanley set a $74.00 price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 23rd. Finally, SunTrust Banks reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $77.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Thursday, August 16th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $71.92.
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Merck & Co., Inc. 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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