Pitcairn Co. raised its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 6.2% in the third quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 21,476 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 1,249 shares during the period. Pitcairn Co.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $1,523,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

Other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently modified their holdings of the company. Taylor Wealth Management Partners purchased a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter valued at $110,000. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC grew its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 86.5% during the 3rd quarter. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 1,656 shares of the company’s stock worth $117,000 after buying an additional 768 shares during the last quarter. WESPAC Advisors SoCal LLC purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 3rd quarter worth $118,000. Atlantic Trust LLC purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth $127,000. Finally, Squar Milner Financial Services LLC purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth $133,000. 72.72% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Merck & Co., Inc. stock opened at $76.72 on Friday. The company has a current ratio of 1.44, a quick ratio of 1.15 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61. The stock has a market cap of $211.30 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.31, a PEG ratio of 2.13 and a beta of 0.71. Merck & Co., Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $52.83 and a fifty-two week high of $80.19.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. The business had revenue of $10.79 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.87 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 34.48% and a net margin of 8.44%. On average, research analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 17th will be paid a dividend of $0.55 per share. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.87%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 14th. This is an increase from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is presently 48.24%.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its board has authorized a stock buyback plan on Thursday, October 25th that permits the company to buyback $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the company to reacquire up to 5.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are generally an indication that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

Several research analysts recently weighed in on MRK shares. SunTrust Banks restated a “buy” rating and set a $77.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Thursday, August 16th. Morgan Stanley set a $74.00 target price on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 23rd. Barclays boosted their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $75.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research note on Friday, September 7th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $79.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, September 26th. Finally, Guggenheim started coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Monday, October 8th. They set a “buy” rating on the stock. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $73.65.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 279,851 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated 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 in the company, valued at approximately $68,103,814.08. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider Roger M. Perlmutter sold 225,443 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.27, for a total value of $16,969,094.61. Following the sale, the insider now owns 366,998 shares in the company, valued at approximately $27,623,939.46. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 1,279,104 shares of company stock worth $92,845,846. Company insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

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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 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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