Aureus Asset Management LLC grew its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 35.4% during the second quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 20,639 shares of the company’s stock after acquiring an additional 5,398 shares during the quarter. Aureus Asset Management LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $1,253,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Baird Financial Group Inc. lifted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 5.5% during the second quarter. Baird Financial Group Inc. now owns 1,540,958 shares of the company’s stock valued at $93,536,000 after purchasing an additional 80,806 shares during the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund purchased a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the second quarter valued at about $17,887,000. BlueMountain Capital Management LLC lifted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 3,029.9% during the second quarter. BlueMountain Capital Management LLC now owns 59,469 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,610,000 after purchasing an additional 57,569 shares during the last quarter. Boulegeris Investments Inc. lifted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.0% during the second quarter. Boulegeris Investments Inc. now owns 12,505 shares of the company’s stock valued at $759,000 after purchasing an additional 1,905 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Burney Co. lifted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 11.6% during the second quarter. Burney Co. now owns 33,188 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,015,000 after purchasing an additional 3,457 shares during the last quarter. 72.18% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Shares of MRK opened at $69.81 on Friday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a twelve month low of $52.83 and a twelve month high of $72.89. The stock has a market cap of $191.27 billion, a PE ratio of 17.54, a P/E/G ratio of 2.22 and a beta of 0.81. The company has a current ratio of 1.33, a quick ratio of 1.04 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 27th. The company reported $1.06 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ 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 analysts’ expectations of $10.28 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $1.01 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 5.4% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, sell-side analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.27 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 5th. Stockholders of record on Monday, September 17th were given a dividend of $0.48 per share. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.75%. The ex-dividend date was Friday, September 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 48.24%.

MRK has been the topic of several recent research reports. Bank of America upped their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $74.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, July 30th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $80.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Monday, October 8th. Morgan Stanley set a $74.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, August 23rd. Jefferies Financial Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $59.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Sunday, July 15th. Finally, Barclays upped their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $75.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, September 7th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fifteen have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $69.80.

In related news, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 107,360 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, September 17th. The shares were 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 in the company, valued at $7,018,000. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, VP Rita A. Karachun sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.01, for a total transaction of $325,050.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 929,360 shares of company stock worth $64,370,599. Company insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

About Merck & Co., Inc.

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.

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

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