First Allied Advisory Services Inc. lowered its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 5.9% during the second quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The firm owned 143,607 shares of the company’s stock after selling 9,023 shares during the quarter. First Allied Advisory Services Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $8,747,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Several other large investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. South Texas Money Management Ltd. purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the second quarter valued at approximately $39,540,000. Montgomery Investment Management Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 5.7% in the second quarter. Montgomery Investment Management Inc. now owns 36,986 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,246,000 after buying an additional 2,000 shares in the last quarter. 180 Wealth Advisors LLC boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 152.9% in the second quarter. 180 Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 12,019 shares of the company’s stock valued at $730,000 after buying an additional 7,266 shares in the last quarter. Providence Capital Advisors LLC boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.6% in the second quarter. Providence Capital Advisors LLC now owns 34,675 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,105,000 after buying an additional 1,200 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Tesco Pension Investment Ltd purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the second quarter valued at approximately $38,043,000. 72.14% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

MRK opened at $70.33 on Thursday. The company has a current ratio of 1.33, a quick ratio of 1.04 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61. The firm has a market cap of $190.84 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.67, a PEG ratio of 2.21 and a beta of 0.81. Merck & Co., Inc. has a one year low of $52.83 and a one year high of $71.57.

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

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 5th. Shareholders of record on Monday, September 17th will be given a dividend of $0.48 per share. The ex-dividend date is Friday, September 14th. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.73%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 48.24%.

In other 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 sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 100,000 shares in the company, valued at $7,018,000. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 279,851 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, September 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.08, for a total value of $19,611,958.08. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now owns 971,801 shares in the company, valued at $68,103,814.08. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 649,510 shares of company stock worth $44,201,809. 0.32% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of analysts recently weighed in on MRK shares. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $69.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Thursday, June 7th. TheStreet upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a research note on Friday, June 8th. Jefferies Financial Group restated a “hold” rating and issued a $59.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Sunday, July 15th. BMO Capital Markets restated a “buy” rating and issued a $70.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Sunday, July 22nd. Finally, Bank of America lifted their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $74.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, July 30th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co., Inc. presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average 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: Google Finance Portfolio Workaround

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

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