Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Stake Lessened by Dowling & Yahnke LLC

Dowling & Yahnke LLC lowered its position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.5% during the third quarter, according to its most recent filing with the SEC. The firm owned 98,020 shares of the company’s stock after selling 1,499 shares during the period. Dowling & Yahnke LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $6,954,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently modified their holdings of MRK. Prentiss Smith & Co. Inc. lifted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 17.1% during the 3rd quarter. Prentiss Smith & Co. Inc. now owns 4,793 shares of the company’s stock valued at $340,000 after acquiring an additional 700 shares during the period. Boyd Watterson Asset Management LLC OH lifted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.4% during the 3rd quarter. Boyd Watterson Asset Management LLC OH now owns 31,345 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,224,000 after acquiring an additional 725 shares during the period. Sullivan Bruyette Speros & Blaney LLC lifted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 4.9% during the 3rd quarter. Sullivan Bruyette Speros & Blaney LLC now owns 16,310 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,157,000 after acquiring an additional 756 shares during the period. Institute for Wealth Management LLC. lifted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 7.4% during the 3rd quarter. Institute for Wealth Management LLC. now owns 11,084 shares of the company’s stock valued at $778,000 after acquiring an additional 759 shares during the period. Finally, Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC lifted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 86.5% during the 3rd quarter. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 1,656 shares of the company’s stock valued at $117,000 after acquiring an additional 768 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.29% of the company’s stock.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 107,360 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, September 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.18, for a total transaction of $7,534,524.80. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 100,000 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,018,000. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Roger M. Perlmutter sold 225,443 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.27, for a total transaction of $16,969,094.61. Following the sale, the insider now owns 366,998 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $27,623,939.46. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 1,279,104 shares of company stock valued at $92,845,846 in the last 90 days. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Shares of MRK stock opened at $79.34 on Friday. The firm has a market cap of $210.06 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.93, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.12 and a beta of 0.73. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a current ratio of 1.44 and a quick ratio of 1.15. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12 month low of $52.83 and a 12 month high of $79.49.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. The business had revenue of $10.79 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.87 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 8.44% and a return on equity of 34.48%. Analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 EPS for the current year.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its board has initiated a stock buyback program on Thursday, October 25th that permits the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to buy up to 5.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are generally an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 17th will be paid a dividend of $0.55 per share. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.77%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, December 14th. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 48.24%.

A number of research analysts recently issued reports on MRK shares. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 18th. Morgan Stanley set a $74.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 23rd. SunTrust Banks reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $77.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Thursday, August 16th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $79.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, September 26th. Finally, Citigroup set a $79.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 16th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $73.65.

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About Merck & Co., Inc.

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates in four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, asthma, nasal allergy symptoms, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, fungal, intra-abdominal infections, hypertension, arthritis and pain, inflammatory, osteoporosis, and fertility diseases.

Further Reading: Hedge Funds

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

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