Frontier Wealth Management LLC boosted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 40.8% during the fourth quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 33,632 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 9,741 shares during the period. Frontier Wealth Management LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $1,980,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other hedge funds have also recently made changes to their positions in MRK. Franklin Street Advisors Inc. NC increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 6.3% in the third quarter. Franklin Street Advisors Inc. NC now owns 100,595 shares of the company’s stock worth $6,278,000 after buying an additional 5,972 shares during the period. Private Asset Management Inc. increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 0.8% in the third quarter. Private Asset Management Inc. now owns 257,989 shares of the company’s stock worth $16,101,000 after buying an additional 1,942 shares during the period. Burke & Herbert Bank & Trust Co. increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 0.3% in the third quarter. Burke & Herbert Bank & Trust Co. now owns 24,900 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,554,000 after buying an additional 85 shares during the period. Summit Financial Wealth Advisors LLC increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 2.1% in the third quarter. Summit Financial Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 12,089 shares of the company’s stock worth $754,000 after buying an additional 251 shares during the period. Finally, Boltwood Capital Management increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 0.9% in the third quarter. Boltwood Capital Management now owns 20,545 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,282,000 after buying an additional 180 shares during the period. 74.10% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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

Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) opened at 64.11 on Tuesday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12 month low of $51.59 and a 12 month high of $66.80. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $64.81 and a 200-day moving average 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. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.89 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.89 by $0.00. Merck & Co. had a net margin of 14.30% and a return on equity of 24.08%. The firm had revenue of $10.10 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.22 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.93 EPS. Merck & Co.’s quarterly revenue was down 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post $3.81 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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

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A number of brokerages recently issued reports on MRK. Vetr raised shares of Merck & Co. from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $65.54 price target on the stock in a report on Wednesday, March 1st. Sanford C. Bernstein reissued a “market perform” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Friday, February 24th. BMO Capital Markets lowered their price target on shares of Merck & Co. from $72.00 to $70.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, February 15th. Jefferies Group LLC reissued an “underperform” rating and set a $52.00 price target (up from $50.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Saturday, March 11th. Finally, Leerink Swann reissued a “market perform” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Monday. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and twelve have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $67.72.

In related news, EVP Michael J. Holston sold 91,959 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction on Friday, February 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $63.96, for a total value of $5,881,697.64. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 105,559 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,751,553.64. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director Thomas R. Cech sold 5,000 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction on Friday, February 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $63.42, for a total transaction of $317,100.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 5,100 shares in the company, valued at $323,442. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders sold 106,959 shares of company stock worth $6,843,448. 0.05% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

About Merck & Co.

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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