Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Position Increased by Pinnacle Financial Partners Inc.

Pinnacle Financial Partners Inc. increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 28.0% during the 3rd quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 49,568 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 10,832 shares during the quarter. Pinnacle Financial Partners Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $3,516,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also bought and sold shares of MRK. Alpha Windward LLC acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $342,000. Calamos Advisors LLC bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $52,620,000. Berkshire Asset Management LLC PA increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 4.3% during the 2nd quarter. Berkshire Asset Management LLC PA now owns 244,736 shares of the company’s stock worth $14,855,000 after purchasing an additional 10,051 shares in the last quarter. Calamos Wealth Management LLC bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $742,000. Finally, Retirement Systems of Alabama increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 69.1% during the 2nd quarter. Retirement Systems of Alabama now owns 2,177,888 shares of the company’s stock worth $132,198,000 after purchasing an additional 889,872 shares in the last quarter. 72.72% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

In other news, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 107,360 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction that occurred 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 transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 100,000 shares in the company, valued at $7,018,000. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, insider Roger M. Perlmutter sold 225,443 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction that occurred 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 transaction, the insider now owns 366,998 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $27,623,939.46. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 1,279,104 shares of company stock valued at $92,845,846 over the last quarter. Company insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

A number of research analysts recently commented on MRK shares. SunTrust Banks reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $77.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Thursday, August 16th. Morgan Stanley set a $74.00 target price on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 23rd. Barclays increased their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $75.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Friday, September 7th. Zacks Investment Research raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $79.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, September 26th. Finally, Guggenheim started coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Monday, October 8th. They issued a “buy” rating on the stock. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $73.65.

Shares of NYSE:MRK opened at $79.22 on Tuesday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12-month low of $52.83 and a 12-month high of $79.57. The stock has a market cap of $213.92 billion, a PE ratio of 19.90, a P/E/G ratio of 2.16 and a beta of 0.71. The company has a current ratio of 1.44, a quick ratio of 1.15 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61.

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

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its board has initiated a stock buyback plan on Thursday, October 25th that allows the company to buyback $10.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to purchase up to 5.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are typically a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Stockholders of record on Monday, December 17th will be issued a dividend of $0.55 per share. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.78%. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 48.24%.

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Merck & Co., Inc. Profile

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: What is an investor looking for in an SEC filing?

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

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