W. E. Donoghue & Co. LLC bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) during the 2nd quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm bought 250,113 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $16,030,000. Merck & Co., Inc. accounts for approximately 1.8% of W. E. Donoghue & Co. LLC’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 28th biggest position.

A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds have also modified their holdings of MRK. Perennial Advisors LLC grew its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.7% during the 2nd quarter. Perennial Advisors LLC now owns 1,626 shares of the company’s stock valued at $104,000 after buying an additional 157 shares in the last quarter. Stelac Advisory Services LLC purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $104,000. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. grew its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 15.5% during the 2nd quarter. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 1,727 shares of the company’s stock valued at $111,000 after buying an additional 232 shares in the last quarter. Solaris Asset Management LLC grew its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 6.3% during the 2nd quarter. Solaris Asset Management LLC now owns 1,940 shares of the company’s stock valued at $124,000 after buying an additional 115 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Harbour Capital Advisors LLC purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 1st quarter valued at approximately $127,000. 73.84% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Several equities analysts have weighed in on the company. BMO Capital Markets restated a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Friday, September 8th. Morgan Stanley cut Merck & Co., Inc. from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and set a $56.00 target price for the company. in a report on Monday, October 30th. Credit Suisse Group reiterated an “outperform” rating and issued a $74.00 target price (down previously from $75.00) on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Tuesday, September 5th. UBS dropped their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $72.00 to $67.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a report on Monday, October 30th. Finally, Citigroup upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 target price for the company in a report on Wednesday, October 18th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and eleven have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co., Inc. presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $66.29.

Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) traded up $0.23 on Friday, reaching $56.24. The company had a trading volume of 21,240,948 shares, compared to its average volume of 11,642,164. The company has a current ratio of 1.43, a quick ratio of 1.16 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57. The stock has a market cap of $153,222.34, a PE ratio of 14.46, a P/E/G ratio of 2.90 and a beta of 0.76. Merck & Co., Inc. has a one year low of $53.63 and a one year high of $66.80.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its earnings results on Friday, October 27th. The company reported $1.11 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.08. The business had revenue of $10.33 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.54 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 27.08% and a net margin of 11.60%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s revenue was down 2.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $1.07 EPS. sell-side analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 3.95 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, January 8th. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 15th will be given a dividend of $0.48 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, December 14th. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.47. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.41%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 114.97%.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its board has approved a stock buyback program on Tuesday, November 28th that authorizes the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are often an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, Director Thomas H. Glocer sold 5,000 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $56.20, for a total transaction of $281,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.

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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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