E&G Advisors LP lifted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 7.7% during the fourth quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 16,833 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 1,203 shares during the period. E&G Advisors LP’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $1,286,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently bought and sold shares of the company. MinichMacGregor Wealth Management LLC increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1,616.4% during the fourth quarter. MinichMacGregor Wealth Management LLC now owns 26,828 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,718,000 after purchasing an additional 25,265 shares in the last quarter. Meeder Asset Management Inc. increased its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.6% in the 4th quarter. Meeder Asset Management Inc. now owns 158,079 shares of the company’s stock valued at $12,080,000 after acquiring an additional 24,741 shares during the period. Hudson Valley Investment Advisors Inc. ADV increased its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 22.2% in the 4th quarter. Hudson Valley Investment Advisors Inc. ADV now owns 48,762 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,726,000 after acquiring an additional 8,846 shares during the period. Newport Wealth Strategies Inc. acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the 4th quarter valued at about $234,000. Finally, DORCHESTER WEALTH MANAGEMENT Co increased its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 11.4% in the 4th quarter. DORCHESTER WEALTH MANAGEMENT Co now owns 17,051 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,303,000 after acquiring an additional 1,750 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 74.29% of the company’s stock.

NYSE MRK opened at $79.02 on Thursday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a quick ratio of 1.15 and a current ratio of 1.44. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12-month low of $52.83 and a 12-month high of $80.19. The company has a market cap of $209.82 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.21, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.05 and a beta of 0.62.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its earnings results on Friday, February 1st. The company reported $1.04 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.01. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 35.10% and a net margin of 14.71%. The company had revenue of $11 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.93 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.98 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 5.4% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, equities research analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.65 EPS for the current year.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its board has initiated a stock buyback program on Thursday, October 25th that allows the company to buyback $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to reacquire up to 5.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are generally a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 5th. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 15th will be given a dividend of $0.55 per share. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.78%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 50.69%.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 231,566 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, February 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $78.08, for a total transaction of $18,080,673.28. Following the transaction, the chairman now owns 923,516 shares in the company, valued at approximately $72,108,129.28. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director Thomas H. Glocer sold 10,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, February 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.96, for a total value of $759,600.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 244,618 shares of company stock worth $19,075,949 in the last quarter. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several brokerages recently issued reports on MRK. Credit Suisse Group set a $86.00 price target on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, December 13th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $83.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Friday, January 4th. BMO Capital Markets cut Merck & Co., Inc. from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $80.00 price target on the stock. in a research report on Wednesday, January 23rd. Morgan Stanley set a $81.00 price target on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, December 20th. Finally, Citigroup set a $65.00 price target on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, December 20th. Six investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and ten have given a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $73.15.

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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 agents to treat cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, asthma, nasal allergy, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, fungal, intra-abdominal, hypertension, arthritis and pain, inflammatory, osteoporosis, and fertility diseases.

Read More: Cost of Debt

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

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