Alerus Financial NA decreased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 4.4% in the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 41,738 shares of the company’s stock after selling 1,932 shares during the period. Alerus Financial NA’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $3,190,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in MRK. Reik & CO. LLC purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 3rd quarter valued at about $205,000. Hamilton Point Investment Advisors LLC purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 3rd quarter valued at about $200,000. Benjamin F. Edwards & Company Inc. boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 4.3% during the 3rd quarter. Benjamin F. Edwards & Company Inc. now owns 32,632 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,315,000 after acquiring an additional 1,359 shares during the period. Kendall Capital Management purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 3rd quarter valued at about $219,000. Finally, Price Capital Management Inc. purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 3rd quarter valued at about $1,504,000. 73.36% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

A number of equities analysts recently commented on the company. Cantor Fitzgerald restated a “buy” rating and set a $95.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Friday. BMO Capital Markets restated a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Tuesday, February 19th. Argus lifted their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. to $95.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 20th. Credit Suisse Group set a $86.00 price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, December 13th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $83.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Friday, January 4th. Six research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $77.06.

In related news, EVP Robert M. Davis sold 192,572 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, March 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $82.38, for a total transaction of $15,864,081.36. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 330,232 shares in the company, valued at $27,204,512.16. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, CEO Kenneth C. Frazier sold 92,913 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $80.03, for a total value of $7,435,827.39. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 784,863 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $62,812,585.89. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 1,094,632 shares of company stock valued at $87,840,652. 0.32% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Shares of MRK opened at $82.63 on Friday. The stock has a market capitalization of $221.87 billion, a PE ratio of 19.04, a P/E/G ratio of 2.03 and a beta of 0.62. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1 year low of $52.83 and a 1 year high of $83.47. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.74, a current ratio of 1.17 and a quick ratio of 0.92.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its earnings results on Friday, February 1st. The company reported $1.04 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $11 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.93 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 36.83% and a net margin of 14.71%. The firm’s revenue was up 5.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.98 earnings per share. As a group, sell-side analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.65 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 5th. Investors of record on Friday, March 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.55 per share. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.66%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, March 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 50.69%.

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Merck & Co., Inc. Company 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.

See Also: Average Daily Trade Volume – ADTV

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

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