10 15 Associates Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 3.3% during the second quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The fund owned 145,206 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 4,662 shares during the quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. accounts for about 2.0% of 10 15 Associates Inc.’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 24th biggest position. 10 15 Associates Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $8,814,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other institutional investors and hedge funds have also added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Cobblestone Capital Advisors LLC NY lifted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.4% during the second quarter. Cobblestone Capital Advisors LLC NY now owns 187,080 shares of the company’s stock worth $11,356,000 after buying an additional 774 shares during the period. Associated Banc Corp increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.3% during the second quarter. Associated Banc Corp now owns 251,933 shares of the company’s stock worth $15,293,000 after purchasing an additional 776 shares in the last quarter. Checchi Capital Advisers LLC increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.0% during the second quarter. Checchi Capital Advisers LLC now owns 26,914 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,634,000 after purchasing an additional 792 shares in the last quarter. Mckinley Capital Management LLC Delaware increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 5.6% during the second quarter. Mckinley Capital Management LLC Delaware now owns 15,447 shares of the company’s stock worth $938,000 after purchasing an additional 815 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Brick & Kyle Associates increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.7% during the second quarter. Brick & Kyle Associates now owns 50,020 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,036,000 after purchasing an additional 830 shares in the last quarter. 72.14% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

NYSE MRK opened at $70.72 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a quick ratio of 1.04 and a current ratio of 1.33. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1 year low of $52.83 and a 1 year high of $71.57. The firm has a market capitalization of $190.49 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.77, a PEG ratio of 2.21 and a beta of 0.81.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its earnings results on Friday, July 27th. The company reported $1.06 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.03. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 32.68% and a net margin of 3.67%. The firm had revenue of $10.47 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.28 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $1.01 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 5.4% on a year-over-year basis. analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.27 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 5th. Investors of record on Monday, September 17th will be given a $0.48 dividend. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.71%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, September 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 48.24%.

In related news, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 107,360 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, September 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $70.18, for a total value of $7,534,524.80. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 100,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $7,018,000. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 228,091 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, July 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.00, for a total value of $14,825,915.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 938,788 shares in the company, valued at $61,021,220. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 649,510 shares of company stock worth $44,201,809. 0.32% of the stock is owned by insiders.

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 Monday, June 18th. Barclays upped their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $75.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, September 7th. SunTrust Banks reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $77.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Thursday, August 16th. TheStreet raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a research report on Friday, June 8th. 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. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $68.55.

Merck & Co., Inc. 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.

Further Reading: Why is the conference call important?

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

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