Woodmont Investment Counsel LLC lifted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 2.2% in the 2nd quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 52,531 shares of the company’s stock after acquiring an additional 1,146 shares during the quarter. Woodmont Investment Counsel LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $4,405,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. NumerixS Investment Technologies Inc boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 138.7% in the 2nd quarter. NumerixS Investment Technologies Inc now owns 32,468 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,722,000 after purchasing an additional 18,868 shares during the period. Girard Partners LTD. boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.7% in the 2nd quarter. Girard Partners LTD. now owns 103,298 shares of the company’s stock worth $8,661,000 after purchasing an additional 2,720 shares during the period. Alps Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 15.9% in the 2nd quarter. Alps Advisors Inc. now owns 38,470 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,226,000 after purchasing an additional 5,273 shares during the period. Lowe Wealth Advisors LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 12.0% in the 2nd quarter. Lowe Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 1,396 shares of the company’s stock worth $117,000 after purchasing an additional 150 shares during the period. Finally, Capital Financial Planning LLC acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the 4th quarter worth $149,000. 74.97% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

A number of brokerages recently weighed in on MRK. Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $95.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Wednesday, August 7th. Mizuho reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $97.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Sunday, September 8th. Bank of America set a $97.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 11th. Goldman Sachs Group began coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, May 28th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $85.00 target price for the company. Finally, Societe Generale set a $105.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, September 3rd. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eighteen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $93.29.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, EVP Richard R. Deluca sold 6,427 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, August 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.09, for a total value of $546,873.43. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 103,223 shares in the company, valued at $8,783,245.07. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, CFO Robert M. Davis sold 216,718 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, June 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.43, for a total transaction of $18,514,218.74. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 354,378 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $30,274,512.54. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.27% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

NYSE MRK traded up $0.19 during trading hours on Wednesday, hitting $82.70. 309,688 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 7,404,005. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82, a quick ratio of 0.92 and a current ratio of 1.21. The business’s 50-day moving average is $84.86 and its 200-day moving average is $81.93. The stock has a market capitalization of $211.51 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.07, a P/E/G ratio of 1.68 and a beta of 0.53. Merck & Co., Inc. has a twelve month low of $66.10 and a twelve month high of $87.35.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 30th. The company reported $1.30 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.16 by $0.14. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 43.34% and a net margin of 21.10%. The firm had revenue of $11.76 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.94 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $1.06 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 12.4% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.91 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 7th. Stockholders of record on Monday, September 16th will be issued a $0.55 dividend. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.66%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, September 13th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is presently 50.69%.

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.

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

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