Exchange Capital Management Inc. decreased its position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 8.9% during the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 44,477 shares of the company’s stock after selling 4,321 shares during the quarter. Exchange Capital Management Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $2,700,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other institutional investors have also recently bought and sold shares of MRK. Avestar Capital LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the fourth quarter valued at about $130,000. HealthCor Management L.P. grew its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 464.2% in the fourth quarter. HealthCor Management L.P. now owns 3,900,000 shares of the company’s stock valued at $219,453,000 after purchasing an additional 3,208,720 shares during the period. Empire Life Investments Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.5% in the fourth quarter. Empire Life Investments Inc. now owns 281,779 shares of the company’s stock valued at $15,856,000 after purchasing an additional 1,397 shares during the period. California State Teachers Retirement System grew its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 6.1% in the fourth quarter. California State Teachers Retirement System now owns 5,124,084 shares of the company’s stock valued at $288,332,000 after purchasing an additional 296,080 shares during the period. Finally, Bainco International Investors grew its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 8.5% in the fourth quarter. Bainco International Investors now owns 160,157 shares of the company’s stock valued at $8,793,000 after purchasing an additional 12,503 shares during the period. 72.19% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Shares of MRK stock opened at $67.95 on Wednesday. The company has a quick ratio of 1.04, a current ratio of 1.33 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61. The stock has a market cap of $184.93 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.07, a P/E/G ratio of 2.36 and a beta of 0.81. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $52.83 and a 1-year high of $70.25.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Friday, July 27th. The company reported $1.06 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.03. The company had revenue of $10.47 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.28 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 3.67% and a return on equity of 32.68%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s revenue was up 5.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.01 earnings per share. equities research analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.27 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 5th. Shareholders of record on Monday, September 17th will be paid a dividend of $0.48 per share. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.83%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, September 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 48.24%.

A number of equities research analysts recently issued reports on the stock. 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. SunTrust Banks reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $77.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Thursday, August 16th. 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. Jefferies Financial Group reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $59.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Sunday, July 15th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $70.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Sunday, July 22nd. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $67.24.

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

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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