Jones Financial Companies Lllp boosted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.7% during the second quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The fund owned 188,310 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 3,091 shares during the quarter. Jones Financial Companies Lllp’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $11,431,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also made changes to their positions in the company. Clearwater Capital Advisors LLC acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the first quarter valued at approximately $103,000. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. grew its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 208.4% in the first quarter. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. now owns 1,983 shares of the company’s stock valued at $108,000 after purchasing an additional 1,340 shares during the last quarter. Taylor Wealth Management Partners acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the second quarter valued at approximately $110,000. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV grew its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 155.2% in the second quarter. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV now owns 1,832 shares of the company’s stock valued at $111,000 after purchasing an additional 1,114 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Well Done LLC acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the first quarter valued at approximately $115,000. 72.14% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Shares of NYSE:MRK opened at $71.10 on Monday. The company has a market cap of $191.70 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.86, a P/E/G ratio of 2.22 and a beta of 0.81. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1 year low of $52.83 and a 1 year high of $71.57. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a quick ratio of 1.04 and a current ratio of 1.33.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 27th. The company reported $1.06 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.03. The business 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%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 5.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $1.01 earnings per share. analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.27 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 5th. Investors of record on Monday, September 17th will be given a dividend of $0.48 per share. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.70%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, September 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 48.24%.

In related news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 279,851 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, September 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $70.08, for a total transaction of $19,611,958.08. Following the sale, the chairman now owns 971,801 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $68,103,814.08. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, 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 owns 100,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $7,018,000. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 649,510 shares of company stock worth $44,201,809 in the last three months. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

MRK has been the topic of several research reports. Morgan Stanley set a $74.00 target price on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 23rd. SunTrust Banks reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $77.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Thursday, August 16th. Jefferies Financial Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $59.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Sunday, July 15th. Zacks Investment Research raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $69.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Thursday, June 7th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $70.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Sunday, July 22nd. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the company. Merck & Co., Inc. presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $67.93.

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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