Reliance Trust Co. of Delaware trimmed its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.9% during the third quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 104,809 shares of the company’s stock after selling 2,069 shares during the period. Merck & Co., Inc. comprises about 1.0% of Reliance Trust Co. of Delaware’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 14th largest position. Reliance Trust Co. of Delaware’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $6,710,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
A number of other large investors also recently made changes to their positions in MRK. Willingdon Wealth Management boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 4.0% in the first quarter. Willingdon Wealth Management now owns 32,856 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,088,000 after purchasing an additional 1,250 shares in the last quarter. GFS Advisors LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 26.6% in the first quarter. GFS Advisors LLC now owns 50,190 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,189,000 after purchasing an additional 10,539 shares in the last quarter. Sfmg LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 4.9% in the first quarter. Sfmg LLC now owns 21,582 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,371,000 after purchasing an additional 1,011 shares in the last quarter. Blue Fin Capital Inc. boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 9.1% in the first quarter. Blue Fin Capital Inc. now owns 28,288 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,797,000 after purchasing an additional 2,370 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Thompson Investment Management Inc. boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.3% in the first quarter. Thompson Investment Management Inc. now owns 21,159 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,344,000 after purchasing an additional 685 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.63% of the company’s stock.
A number of equities analysts have commented on the company. BMO Capital Markets set a $68.00 price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 13th. TheStreet lowered Merck & Co., Inc. from a “b” rating to a “c” rating in a research note on Monday, November 27th. Bank of America assumed coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, November 28th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $64.00 price objective on the stock. Deutsche Bank cut their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $62.00 to $59.00 and set a “hold” rating on the stock in a research note on Friday, November 24th. Finally, Sanford C. Bernstein reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $64.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Wednesday, November 15th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and eleven have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $66.29.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings data on Friday, October 27th. The company reported $1.11 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.03 by $0.08. The business had revenue of $10.33 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.54 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 27.08% and a net margin of 11.60%. The firm’s revenue was down 2.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $1.07 earnings per share. analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 3.95 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, January 8th. Investors of record on Friday, December 15th will be issued a $0.48 dividend. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.41%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, December 14th. This is an increase from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.47. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 114.97%.
Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its board has approved a share repurchase plan on Tuesday, November 28th that authorizes the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are typically a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.
In related news, Director Thomas H. Glocer sold 5,000 shares of the company’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 transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Corporate 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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