Congress Asset Management Co. MA cut its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 5.5% during the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 89,495 shares of the company’s stock after selling 5,197 shares during the period. Congress Asset Management Co. MA’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $5,432,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Mckinley Capital Management LLC Delaware increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 5.6% during the second quarter. Mckinley Capital Management LLC Delaware now owns 15,447 shares of the company’s stock valued at $938,000 after purchasing an additional 815 shares during the last quarter. Summit X LLC increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 9.2% during the first quarter. Summit X LLC now owns 10,093 shares of the company’s stock valued at $552,000 after purchasing an additional 850 shares during the last quarter. Covenant Asset Management LLC increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.4% during the second quarter. Covenant Asset Management LLC now owns 62,353 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,785,000 after purchasing an additional 850 shares during the last quarter. Pegasus Asset Management Inc. increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 4.2% during the first quarter. Pegasus Asset Management Inc. now owns 21,794 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,187,000 after purchasing an additional 873 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Alpha Cubed Investments LLC increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 11.0% during the first quarter. Alpha Cubed Investments LLC now owns 8,970 shares of the company’s stock valued at $489,000 after purchasing an additional 887 shares during the last quarter. 73.02% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

MRK has been the subject of several recent research reports. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Wednesday, April 25th. Goldman Sachs Group upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and lowered their target price for the company from $60.15 to $58.83 in a research note on Monday, April 23rd. Deutsche Bank reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Wednesday, April 25th. SunTrust Banks reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $77.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Thursday. Finally, Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, June 18th. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. Merck & Co., Inc. has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $66.55.

Merck & Co., Inc. stock opened at $69.06 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of $178.14 billion, a PE ratio of 17.35, a PEG ratio of 2.28 and a beta of 0.80. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a current ratio of 1.33 and a quick ratio of 1.04. Merck & Co., Inc. has a one year low of $52.83 and a one year high of $69.24.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released 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. The business 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%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 5.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.01 earnings per share. equities research analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.27 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 5th. Stockholders 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 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.78%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 48.24%.

In related news, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 134,094 shares of the 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 completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 100,000 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,100,000. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider Sanat Chattopadhyay sold 29,208 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.20, for a total transaction of $1,904,361.60. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 70,675 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,608,010. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 396,393 shares of company stock valued at $25,235,061 in the last quarter. 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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