Santori & Peters Inc. bought a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) during the 4th quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The institutional investor bought 2,683 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $205,000.

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently modified their holdings of the business. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.5% during the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 202,833,998 shares of the company’s stock valued at $14,389,044,000 after purchasing an additional 924,701 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc increased its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.5% during the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 202,833,998 shares of the company’s stock valued at $14,389,044,000 after purchasing an additional 924,701 shares during the period. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund increased its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 17,936.7% during the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 53,150,490 shares of the company’s stock valued at $696,000 after purchasing an additional 52,855,811 shares during the period. Bank of New York Mellon Corp increased its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 184,252.6% during the third quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 38,985,039 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,765,600,000 after purchasing an additional 38,963,892 shares during the period. Finally, Capital International Investors increased its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 178.2% during the third quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 32,984,606 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,339,928,000 after purchasing an additional 21,127,887 shares during the period. 73.39% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

NYSE:MRK opened at $80.80 on Wednesday. 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. has a 1-year low of $55.89 and a 1-year high of $83.85. The firm has a market capitalization of $217.23 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.62, a P/E/G ratio of 1.98 and a beta of 0.62.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Friday, February 1st. The company reported $1.04 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.01. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 36.83% and a net margin of 14.71%. The business had revenue of $11 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.93 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.98 EPS. Merck & Co., Inc.’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.4% on a year-over-year basis. Research analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.65 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, April 5th. Investors of record on Friday, March 15th were given a $0.55 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, March 14th. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.72%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 50.69%.

In related news, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. purchased 4,121,683 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, April 8th. The stock was acquired at an average price of $16.00 per share, for a total transaction of $65,946,928.00. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 231,566 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, February 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.08, for a total value of $18,080,673.28. Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now owns 923,516 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $72,108,129.28. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 1,094,632 shares of company stock valued at $87,840,652 in the last quarter. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of research analysts recently issued reports on the company. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Tuesday, February 19th. Argus lifted their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. to $95.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, February 20th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Merck & Co., Inc. from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, January 24th. Citigroup set a $65.00 target price on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, December 20th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group set a $86.00 target price on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, December 13th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $77.83.

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About Merck & Co., Inc.

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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