Heritage Wealth Advisors boosted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 3.5% during the 3rd quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 35,637 shares of the company’s stock after acquiring an additional 1,213 shares during the quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. accounts for about 1.1% of Heritage Wealth Advisors’ holdings, making the stock its 15th biggest holding. Heritage Wealth Advisors’ holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $2,279,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other large investors have also recently modified their holdings of MRK. Stelac Advisory Services LLC purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the second quarter valued at approximately $104,000. Perennial Advisors LLC increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.7% in the second quarter. Perennial Advisors LLC now owns 1,626 shares of the company’s stock valued at $104,000 after purchasing an additional 157 shares during the last quarter. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 15.5% in the second quarter. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 1,727 shares of the company’s stock valued at $111,000 after purchasing an additional 232 shares during the last quarter. Solaris Asset Management LLC increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 6.3% in the second quarter. Solaris Asset Management LLC now owns 1,940 shares of the company’s stock valued at $124,000 after purchasing an additional 115 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Barnett & Company Inc. increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 481.6% in the second quarter. Barnett & Company Inc. now owns 2,053 shares of the company’s stock valued at $132,000 after purchasing an additional 1,700 shares during the last quarter. 73.68% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

In related news, Director Thomas H. Glocer sold 5,000 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $56.20, for a total value of $281,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total transaction of $3,697,800.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 101,484 shares in the company, valued at $6,254,458.92. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders have sold 82,500 shares of company stock worth $5,039,175. Insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) opened at $62.07 on Wednesday. The company has a current ratio of 1.43, a quick ratio of 1.16 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57. The stock has a market cap of $159,815.47, a P/E ratio of 15.08, a PEG ratio of 2.93 and a beta of 0.76. 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 announced its earnings results on Friday, October 27th. The company reported $1.11 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.03 by $0.08. The business 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 company’s revenue for the quarter was down 2.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm posted $1.07 earnings per share. research analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 3.95 EPS for the current year.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its board has authorized 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 repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are generally an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, January 8th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 15th were given a dividend of $0.48 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, December 14th. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.47. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.09%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 114.97%.

Several equities analysts have commented on the stock. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $70.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Sunday, October 29th. Berenberg Bank reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Wednesday, November 1st. Bank of America assumed coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, November 28th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $64.00 price target on the stock. Sanford C. Bernstein reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $64.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Wednesday, November 15th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets set a $70.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 18th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and eleven have issued a buy rating to the company. Merck & Co., Inc. currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $66.82.

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Merck & Co., Inc. Company 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.

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

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