Connors Investor Services Inc. Acquires 9,330 Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

Connors Investor Services Inc. grew its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 5.4% during the 2nd quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The firm owned 182,687 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 9,330 shares during the period. Merck & Co., Inc. makes up about 2.0% of Connors Investor Services Inc.’s holdings, making the stock its 11th biggest position. Connors Investor Services Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $15,318,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also bought and sold shares of MRK. NumerixS Investment Technologies Inc increased its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 138.7% in the 2nd quarter. NumerixS Investment Technologies Inc now owns 32,468 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,722,000 after buying an additional 18,868 shares during the last quarter. Girard Partners LTD. increased its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.7% in the 2nd quarter. Girard Partners LTD. now owns 103,298 shares of the company’s stock worth $8,661,000 after buying an additional 2,720 shares during the last quarter. Alps Advisors Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 15.9% in the 2nd quarter. Alps Advisors Inc. now owns 38,470 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,226,000 after buying an additional 5,273 shares during the last quarter. Lowe Wealth Advisors LLC increased its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 12.0% in the 2nd quarter. Lowe Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 1,396 shares of the company’s stock worth $117,000 after buying an additional 150 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Capital Financial Planning LLC bought a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 4th quarter worth $149,000. 74.97% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

A number of equities analysts have recently commented on MRK shares. JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $90.00 to $93.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, June 14th. Credit Suisse Group reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $95.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Wednesday, August 7th. Goldman Sachs Group started coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Tuesday, May 28th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $85.00 price target on the stock. Societe Generale set a $105.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, September 3rd. Finally, Argus increased their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. to $105.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 7th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eighteen have issued a buy rating to the company. Merck & Co., Inc. presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $93.29.

Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock traded up $1.06 during trading on Thursday, reaching $84.08. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 1,461,889 shares, compared to its average volume of 7,334,159. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52-week low of $66.10 and a 52-week high of $87.35. The company has a market cap of $210.03 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.37, a PEG ratio of 1.67 and a beta of 0.53. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $84.87 and its two-hundred day moving average is $81.94. The company has a quick ratio of 0.92, a current ratio of 1.21 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 30th. The company reported $1.30 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.16 by $0.14. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 21.10% and a return on equity of 43.34%. The company had revenue of $11.76 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.94 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.06 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 12.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.91 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared 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. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, September 13th. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.62%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is currently 50.69%.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, CFO Robert M. Davis sold 216,718 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, June 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.43, for a total transaction of $18,514,218.74. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 354,378 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $30,274,512.54. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, EVP Richard R. Deluca sold 6,427 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, August 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.09, for a total transaction of $546,873.43. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 103,223 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $8,783,245.07. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.27% of the company’s stock.

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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

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