Afam Capital Inc. Has $2.87 Million Position in Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

Afam Capital Inc. boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 21.9% in the third quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The firm owned 44,822 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 8,067 shares during the period. Afam Capital Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $2,870,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently modified their holdings of the company. Perennial Advisors LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.7% in the second quarter. Perennial Advisors LLC now owns 1,626 shares of the company’s stock valued at $104,000 after buying an additional 157 shares during the period. Stelac Advisory Services LLC acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the second quarter valued at approximately $104,000. NewSquare Capital LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 728.3% in the third quarter. NewSquare Capital LLC now owns 14,801 shares of the company’s stock valued at $115,000 after buying an additional 13,014 shares during the period. Solaris Asset Management LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 6.3% in the second 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 during the period. Finally, Barnett & Company Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 481.6% in the second quarter. Barnett & Company Inc. now owns 2,053 shares of the company’s stock valued at $132,000 after buying an additional 1,700 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.24% of the company’s stock.

Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) opened at $54.87 on Friday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $53.36 and a 1-year high of $66.80. The company has a market cap of $149,490.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 59.00, a P/E/G ratio of 2.51 and a beta of 0.75. The company has a current ratio of 1.43, a quick ratio of 1.16 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.94 by $0.04. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 6.40% and a return on equity of 27.73%. The business had revenue of $10.43 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.48 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.89 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.15 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its board has initiated a stock buyback program on Tuesday, November 28th that permits the company to buyback $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are usually a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 6th. Investors of record on Thursday, March 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.48 per share. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.50%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 206.45%.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, Director Wendell P. Weeks sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $53.57, for a total transaction of $267,850.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 5,100 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $273,207. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total transaction of $3,697,800.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 101,484 shares in the company, valued at $6,254,458.92. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 82,500 shares of company stock valued at $5,026,025 in the last 90 days. 0.25% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several research firms have recently weighed in on MRK. Leerink Swann upped their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $69.00 to $70.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a report on Monday, October 23rd. Jefferies Group reiterated a “sell” rating and issued a $55.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Friday, October 20th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 17th. BMO Capital Markets set a $70.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 18th. Finally, Citigroup upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 price target for the company in a report on Wednesday, October 18th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $66.88.

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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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