Emancipation Management LLC cut its position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 20.0% during the fourth quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor owned 5,200 shares of the company’s stock after selling 1,300 shares during the period. Emancipation Management LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $306,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other hedge funds have also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Trexquant Investment LP purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co. during the fourth quarter worth approximately $1,819,000. FIL Ltd increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 17.3% in the fourth quarter. FIL Ltd now owns 252,964 shares of the company’s stock worth $14,892,000 after buying an additional 37,317 shares in the last quarter. First Capital Advisors Group LLC. purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co. during the fourth quarter worth approximately $646,000. LVW Advisors LLC increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 4.1% in the fourth quarter. LVW Advisors LLC now owns 11,889 shares of the company’s stock worth $700,000 after buying an additional 463 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Coho Partners Ltd. increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 6,713.8% in the fourth quarter. Coho Partners Ltd. now owns 1,232,267 shares of the company’s stock worth $72,544,000 after buying an additional 1,214,182 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 74.10% of the company’s stock.

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

Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) opened at 64.11 on Tuesday. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $64.81 and a 200 day moving average price of $62.39. The firm has a market capitalization of $176.02 billion, a PE ratio of 45.47 and a beta of 0.79. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $51.59 and a 1-year high of $66.80.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.89 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.89 by $0.00. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 24.08% and a net margin of 14.30%. The company had revenue of $10.10 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.22 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.93 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post $3.81 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 7th. Investors of record on Wednesday, March 15th will be given a dividend of $0.47 per share. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.93%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, March 13th. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 92.61%.

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A number of analysts have commented on the company. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $70.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Tuesday. Leerink Swann reiterated a “market perform” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Monday. Jefferies Group LLC reiterated an “underperform” rating and issued a $52.00 price objective (up previously from $50.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Saturday, March 11th. Vetr upgraded Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $69.31 price objective for the company in a research report on Wednesday, March 8th. Finally, Sanford C. Bernstein reiterated a “market perform” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Friday, February 24th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and twelve have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $67.72.

In related news, Director Patricia F. Russo sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, February 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $64.42, for a total transaction of $322,100.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 18,148 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,169,094.16. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, EVP Michael J. Holston sold 91,959 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $63.96, for a total value of $5,881,697.64. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 105,559 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,751,553.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 106,959 shares of company stock worth $6,843,448 in the last three months. 0.05% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Merck & Co. Company Profile

Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, which it markets directly and through its joint ventures. It operates through one segment, Pharmaceutical. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:MRK

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