Enlightenment Research LLC trimmed its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 8.3% during the second quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The firm owned 9,300 shares of the company’s stock after selling 837 shares during the period. Enlightenment Research LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $737,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
Several other institutional investors and hedge funds have also modified their holdings of the company. Gantzert Investment Co. LLC ADV purchased a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter worth approximately $2,373,000. Buckingham Capital Management Inc. grew its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 4.8% during the 4th quarter. Buckingham Capital Management Inc. now owns 69,479 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,309,000 after purchasing an additional 3,177 shares during the last quarter. First Trust Advisors LP grew its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 8.5% during the 4th quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 1,171,158 shares of the company’s stock worth $89,488,000 after purchasing an additional 91,586 shares during the last quarter. Lindbrook Capital LLC purchased a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter worth approximately $437,000. Finally, BancorpSouth Bank grew its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.9% during the 4th quarter. BancorpSouth Bank now owns 45,983 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,514,000 after purchasing an additional 856 shares during the last quarter. 76.05% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.
Several analysts have recently commented on the stock. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, August 1st. Atlantic Securities raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating in a report on Monday, May 13th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Goldman Sachs Group assumed coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Tuesday, May 28th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $85.00 price objective on the stock. Morgan Stanley upped their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $84.00 to $90.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, June 21st. Finally, Svb Leerink began coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Friday, August 16th. They set an “outperform” rating and a $103.00 price target on the stock. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seventeen have issued a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $92.56.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 30th. The company reported $1.30 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.16 by $0.14. The company had revenue of $11.76 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.94 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 21.10% and a return on equity of 43.34%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 12.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $1.06 earnings per share. Research analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.91 earnings per share for the current year.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 7th. Shareholders of record on Monday, September 16th will be given a dividend of $0.55 per share. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.57%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, September 13th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 50.69%.
In other news, CFO Robert M. Davis sold 216,718 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, June 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.43, for a total value of $18,514,218.74. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 354,378 shares in the company, valued at $30,274,512.54. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, EVP Richard R. Deluca sold 6,427 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.09, for a total transaction of $546,873.43. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 103,223 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $8,783,245.07. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.27% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile
Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, intra-abdominal, fungal infection, insomnia, and inflammatory diseases.
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