Argent Trust Co Sells 471 Shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (MRK)

Argent Trust Co lowered its stake in shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.8% during the second quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 25,087 shares of the company’s stock after selling 471 shares during the quarter. Argent Trust Co’s holdings in Merck & Company, Inc. were worth $1,607,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Other hedge funds also recently modified their holdings of the company. Hanson McClain Inc. boosted its position in Merck & Company, Inc. by 65.0% during the second quarter. Hanson McClain Inc. now owns 7,662 shares of the company’s stock valued at $491,000 after purchasing an additional 3,019 shares in the last quarter. Fort Washington Investment Advisors Inc. OH boosted its holdings in Merck & Company, Inc. by 133.4% in the first quarter. Fort Washington Investment Advisors Inc. OH now owns 144,247 shares of the company’s stock worth $9,165,000 after acquiring an additional 82,454 shares in the last quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. boosted its holdings in Merck & Company, Inc. by 2.6% in the second quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. now owns 4,206,648 shares of the company’s stock worth $269,678,000 after acquiring an additional 107,201 shares in the last quarter. Meag Munich Ergo Kapitalanlagegesellschaft MBH boosted its holdings in Merck & Company, Inc. by 41.9% in the second quarter. Meag Munich Ergo Kapitalanlagegesellschaft MBH now owns 296,294 shares of the company’s stock worth $19,028,000 after acquiring an additional 87,443 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Stevens Capital Management LP acquired a new stake in Merck & Company, Inc. in the first quarter worth about $15,126,000. 73.85% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

In other news, Director Thomas H. Glocer sold 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $56.20, for a total value of $281,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Company insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.

Several brokerages have weighed in on MRK. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Merck & Company, Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 11th. BMO Capital Markets reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $72.00 price target on shares of Merck & Company, Inc. in a report on Friday, September 8th. Jefferies Group reissued a “sell” rating and issued a $55.00 price target on shares of Merck & Company, Inc. in a report on Friday, October 20th. Leerink Swann raised their price target on Merck & Company, Inc. from $69.00 to $70.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a report on Monday, October 23rd. Finally, Cowen reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $70.00 price target on shares of Merck & Company, Inc. in a report on Friday, September 1st. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $66.29.

Shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE MRK) traded up $0.60 during trading hours on Friday, hitting $55.87. The stock had a trading volume of 12,092,385 shares, compared to its average volume of 11,504,279. Merck & Company, Inc. has a 1 year low of $53.63 and a 1 year high of $66.80. The stock has a market capitalization of $152,214.30, a PE ratio of 14.36, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.59 and a beta of 0.77. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57, a quick ratio of 1.16 and a current ratio of 1.43.

Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Friday, October 27th. The company reported $1.11 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.08. Merck & Company, Inc. had a return on equity of 27.08% and a net margin of 11.60%. The firm had revenue of $10.33 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.54 billion. During the same period last year, the business posted $1.07 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 2.0% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts expect that Merck & Company, Inc. will post 3.95 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Merck & Company, Inc. declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock repurchase program on Tuesday, November 28th that permits the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, January 8th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 15th will be paid a $0.48 dividend. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.44%. This is a boost from Merck & Company, Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.47. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 14th. Merck & Company, Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 112.58%.

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Merck & Company, 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.

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

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