Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) EVP Sells $2,721,420.52 in Stock

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 36,218 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.14, for a total value of $2,721,420.52. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 82,481 shares in the company, valued at $6,197,622.34. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link.

NYSE MRK opened at $74.86 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a quick ratio of 1.04 and a current ratio of 1.44. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1 year low of $52.83 and a 1 year high of $75.99. The firm has a market capitalization of $202.43 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.81, a PEG ratio of 2.04 and a beta of 0.73.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its 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 34.48% and a net margin of 8.44%. The firm had revenue of $10.79 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.87 billion. On average, analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its board has initiated a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, October 25th that permits the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to purchase up to 5.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are often an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Investors of record on Monday, December 17th will be given a $0.55 dividend. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.94%. This is an increase from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 48.24%.

A number of brokerages have recently issued reports on MRK. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 16th. Bank of America upped their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $74.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, July 30th. Citigroup upped their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $79.00 to $84.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 31st. SunTrust Banks upped their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $77.00 to $80.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, October 29th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $70.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Sunday, July 22nd. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have given a buy rating to the company. Merck & Co., Inc. presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $71.92.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. BlackRock Inc. grew its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.5% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 185,546,933 shares of the company’s stock worth $11,262,699,000 after purchasing an additional 831,243 shares during the period. Bank of New York Mellon Corp grew its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 184,252.6% during the 3rd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 38,985,039 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,765,600,000 after purchasing an additional 38,963,892 shares during the period. Janus Henderson Group PLC grew its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 64.3% during the 3rd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 20,519,549 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,455,653,000 after purchasing an additional 8,032,634 shares during the period. Morgan Stanley grew its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.9% during the 2nd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 15,905,834 shares of the company’s stock worth $965,485,000 after purchasing an additional 149,438 shares during the period. Finally, Macquarie Group Ltd. grew its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 19.5% during the 2nd quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 14,733,548 shares of the company’s stock worth $894,326,000 after purchasing an additional 2,406,836 shares during the period. 72.32% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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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Insider Buying and Selling by Quarter for Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

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