Douglass Winthrop Advisors LLC trimmed its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 5.0% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor owned 282,257 shares of the company’s stock after selling 14,930 shares during the quarter. Douglass Winthrop Advisors LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $17,133,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

A number of other hedge funds also recently bought and sold shares of the business. Franklin Resources Inc. lifted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 13.6% in the first quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 49,101,614 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,674,552,000 after buying an additional 5,880,457 shares during the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC lifted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.4% in the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 29,116,826 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,634,999,000 after buying an additional 957,657 shares during the last quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. lifted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 5.4% in the fourth quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 11,698,584 shares of the company’s stock valued at $658,298,000 after buying an additional 597,089 shares during the last quarter. OppenheimerFunds Inc. lifted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.6% in the fourth quarter. OppenheimerFunds Inc. now owns 11,074,841 shares of the company’s stock valued at $623,182,000 after buying an additional 64,887 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. lifted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.3% in the first quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 10,609,836 shares of the company’s stock valued at $577,918,000 after buying an additional 238,896 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 73.02% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock opened at $69.06 on Friday. 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. has a 52 week low of $52.83 and a 52 week high of $69.24. The stock has a market capitalization of $178.14 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.35, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.28 and a beta of 0.80.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 27th. The company reported $1.06 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.03. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 3.67% and a return on equity of 32.68%. 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 previous year, the business earned $1.01 earnings per share. Merck & Co., Inc.’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.4% compared to the same quarter last year. analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.27 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 5th. Shareholders of record on Monday, September 17th will be given a $0.48 dividend. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.78%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, September 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 48.24%.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 134,094 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, June 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.00, for a total value of $8,179,734.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 100,000 shares in the company, valued at $6,100,000. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 228,091 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, July 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.00, for a total transaction of $14,825,915.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now owns 938,788 shares in the company, valued at $61,021,220. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders sold 396,393 shares of company stock worth $25,235,061. 0.32% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

MRK has been the topic of a number of recent analyst reports. TheStreet upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a research note on Friday, June 8th. BMO Capital Markets restated a “buy” rating and set a $70.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Sunday, July 22nd. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $69.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Thursday, June 7th. Jefferies Financial Group restated a “hold” rating and set a $59.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Sunday, July 15th. Finally, Bank of America lifted their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $74.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, July 30th. Six investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $66.55.

Merck & Co., Inc. Company 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.

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

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