Halsey Associates Inc. CT increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 97.8% in the 4th quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The fund owned 12,312 shares of the company’s stock after acquiring an additional 6,088 shares during the quarter. Halsey Associates Inc. CT’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $941,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently modified their holdings of the stock. PRW Wealth Management LLC acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter worth $41,000. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 186.4% during the 4th quarter. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. now owns 653 shares of the company’s stock worth $50,000 after purchasing an additional 425 shares during the last quarter. Advisors Preferred LLC acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter worth $66,000. Financial Gravity Companies Inc. acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter worth $66,000. Finally, Mark Sheptoff Financial Planning LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 150.0% during the 4th quarter. Mark Sheptoff Financial Planning LLC now owns 1,000 shares of the company’s stock worth $76,000 after purchasing an additional 600 shares during the last quarter. 71.82% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 18,725 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, March 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $82.00, for a total value of $1,535,450.00. Following the transaction, the chairman now owns 816,440 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $66,948,080. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 20,105 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, March 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $82.00, for a total transaction of $1,648,610.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 810,859 shares in the company, valued at approximately $66,490,438. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 484,138 shares of company stock worth $39,605,380. Corporate insiders own 0.27% of the company’s stock.

Shares of MRK stock opened at $79.21 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82, a quick ratio of 1.06 and a current ratio of 1.37. The stock has a market cap of $205.15 billion, a PE ratio of 18.25, a PEG ratio of 1.88 and a beta of 0.58. Merck & Co., Inc. has a twelve month low of $58.03 and a twelve month high of $83.85.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, April 30th. The company reported $1.22 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.05 by $0.17. The firm had revenue of $10.82 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.45 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 19.50% and a return on equity of 39.85%. The company’s revenue was up 7.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $1.05 EPS. As a group, analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.72 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 8th. Stockholders of record on Monday, June 17th will be given a dividend of $0.55 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, June 14th. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.78%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 50.69%.

Several equities research analysts have issued reports on MRK shares. Bank of America lifted their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $90.00 to $91.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 1st. Argus lifted their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. to $95.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 20th. Cantor Fitzgerald started coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Friday, February 22nd. They set an “overweight” rating and a $95.00 target price on the stock. BMO Capital Markets lifted their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $83.00 to $84.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 1st. Finally, ValuEngine raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, May 3rd. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $83.08.

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Merck & Co., Inc. Profile

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, intra-abdominal, fungal infection, insomnia, and inflammatory diseases.

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

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