Arete Wealth Advisors LLC increased its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 9.9% during the second quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The firm owned 15,033 shares of the company’s stock after acquiring an additional 1,351 shares during the period. Arete Wealth Advisors LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $963,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Other large investors have also bought and sold shares of the company. Northeast Financial Consultants Inc acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the 1st quarter worth about $222,000. Oxbow Advisors LLC boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.8% in the 1st quarter. Oxbow Advisors LLC now owns 11,495 shares of the company’s stock worth $730,000 after buying an additional 1,820 shares during the last quarter. Rockefeller Financial Services Inc. boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.3% in the 1st quarter. Rockefeller Financial Services Inc. now owns 504,510 shares of the company’s stock worth $32,057,000 after buying an additional 1,429 shares during the last quarter. Linscomb & Williams Inc. boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 8.5% in the 1st quarter. Linscomb & Williams Inc. now owns 71,518 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,544,000 after buying an additional 5,580 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 70.4% in the 1st quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 5,568,791 shares of the company’s stock worth $353,841,000 after buying an additional 2,300,200 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.84% of the company’s stock.

Several research analysts have recently weighed in on MRK shares. BMO Capital Markets set a $70.00 target price on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 11th. Jefferies Group restated a “sell” rating and set a $55.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Friday, October 20th. Credit Suisse Group lowered their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $75.00 to $74.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, August 30th. Leerink Swann lowered their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $69.00 and set a “market perform” rating on the stock in a report on Monday, October 30th. Finally, Citigroup upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. to a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, October 30th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and eleven have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $66.29.

Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) traded up $0.80 during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $55.57. 10,423,300 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 9,727,585. The stock has a market cap of $151,342.47, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.28, a PEG ratio of 2.57 and a beta of 0.76. The company has a current ratio of 1.43, a quick ratio of 1.16 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1 year low of $53.63 and a 1 year high of $66.80.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Friday, October 27th. The company reported $1.11 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.08. The firm had revenue of $10.33 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.54 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 11.60% and a return on equity of 27.08%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 2.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $1.07 EPS. sell-side analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 3.95 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, January 8th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 15th will be given a dividend of $0.48 per share. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.46%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, December 14th. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.47. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is presently 112.58%.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a share repurchase plan on Tuesday, November 28th that permits the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, Director Thomas H. Glocer sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $56.20, for a total value of $281,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. 0.25% of the stock is owned by insiders.

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Merck & Co., Inc. 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. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services and Alliances. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.

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

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