BB&T Corp trimmed its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 5.4% during the third quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The firm owned 515,826 shares of the company’s stock after selling 29,602 shares during the period. BB&T Corp’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $36,593,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in MRK. Taylor Wealth Management Partners acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $110,000. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV boosted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 155.2% in the 2nd quarter. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV now owns 1,832 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after acquiring an additional 1,114 shares in the last quarter. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC lifted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 86.5% during the 3rd quarter. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 1,656 shares of the company’s stock worth $117,000 after buying an additional 768 shares in the last quarter. Atlantic Trust LLC acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth $127,000. Finally, Norway Savings Bank acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth $132,000. 72.32% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.
Several research firms have issued reports on MRK. Wolfe Research began coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Tuesday, October 23rd. They set an “outperform” rating on the stock. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $70.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Sunday, July 22nd. 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 report on Wednesday, September 26th. ValuEngine raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, October 18th. Finally, Citigroup upped their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $79.00 to $84.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 31st. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $71.92.
Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock opened at $74.86 on Friday. The firm has a market cap of $202.43 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.81, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.04 and a beta of 0.73. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52 week low of $52.83 and a 52 week high of $75.99. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a current ratio of 1.44 and a quick ratio of 1.04.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. The company had revenue of $10.79 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.87 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 8.44% and a return on equity of 34.48%. As a group, sell-side analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 EPS for the current year.
The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 17th will be given a dividend of $0.55 per share. This is a boost from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. The ex-dividend date is Friday, December 14th. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.94%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is presently 48.24%.
Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, October 25th that allows the company to buyback $10.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to reacquire up to 5.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are generally a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.
Merck & Co., Inc. Company 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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