US Bancorp DE lessened its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 2.6% during the 4th quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 2,202,920 shares of the company’s stock after selling 59,810 shares during the quarter. US Bancorp DE owned approximately 0.08% of Merck & Co., Inc. worth $123,958,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other hedge funds also recently added to or reduced their stakes in MRK. NewSquare Capital LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 728.3% in the third quarter. NewSquare Capital LLC now owns 14,801 shares of the company’s stock worth $115,000 after buying an additional 13,014 shares in the last quarter. Balentine LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.0% in the second quarter. Balentine LLC now owns 2,107 shares of the company’s stock worth $135,000 after buying an additional 20 shares in the last quarter. WealthTrust Arizona LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 103.7% in the fourth quarter. WealthTrust Arizona LLC now owns 2,495 shares of the company’s stock worth $140,000 after buying an additional 1,270 shares in the last quarter. Risk Paradigm Group LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 748.1% in the second quarter. Risk Paradigm Group LLC now owns 2,256 shares of the company’s stock worth $145,000 after buying an additional 1,990 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Acrospire Investment Management LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 212.5% in the second quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 2,500 shares of the company’s stock worth $160,000 after buying an additional 1,700 shares in the last quarter. 74.60% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE MRK) opened at $54.12 on Friday. The company has a quick ratio of 1.06, a current ratio of 1.33 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.62. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $53.12 and a 1-year high of $66.41. The company has a market cap of $147,454.63, a PE ratio of 13.74, a PEG ratio of 2.31 and a beta of 0.81.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its earnings results on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.94 by $0.04. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 6.40% and a return on equity of 28.61%. The company had revenue of $10.43 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.48 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.89 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.17 EPS for the current year.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock buyback program on Tuesday, November 28th that allows the company to buyback $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are generally an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 6th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.48 per share. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.55%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 206.45%.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, January 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total transaction of $3,697,800.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 101,484 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,254,458.92. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director Wendell P. Weeks sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.57, for a total transaction of $267,850.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 5,100 shares in the company, valued at $273,207. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 82,500 shares of company stock worth $5,026,025. 0.25% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

MRK has been the topic of several research analyst reports. Deutsche Bank lowered their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $62.00 to $59.00 and set a “hold” rating on the stock in a report on Friday, November 24th. Bank of America started coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, November 28th. They set a “buy” rating and a $64.00 price target on the stock. TheStreet downgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “b” rating to a “c” rating in a research note on Monday, November 27th. BMO Capital Markets set a $68.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 13th. Finally, ValuEngine raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 10th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $66.41.

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Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile

Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services and Alliances. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.

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

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