Stratos Wealth Partners LTD. trimmed its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 10.2% during the 3rd quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 55,395 shares of the company’s stock after selling 6,322 shares during the period. Stratos Wealth Partners LTD.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $3,930,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.
Several other hedge funds also recently bought and sold shares of MRK. Beaumont Financial Partners LLC lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.2% during the third quarter. Beaumont Financial Partners LLC now owns 72,090 shares of the company’s stock valued at $5,114,000 after buying an additional 875 shares during the period. Pitcairn Co. lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 6.2% during the third quarter. Pitcairn Co. now owns 21,476 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,523,000 after buying an additional 1,249 shares during the period. Daiwa Securities Group Inc. lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 12.1% during the third quarter. Daiwa Securities Group Inc. now owns 153,614 shares of the company’s stock valued at $10,897,000 after buying an additional 16,639 shares during the period. FCG Advisors LLC purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the third quarter valued at $238,000. Finally, Private Advisor Group LLC lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 46.5% during the third quarter. Private Advisor Group LLC now owns 235,172 shares of the company’s stock valued at $16,683,000 after buying an additional 74,665 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 72.72% of the company’s stock.
In other news, EVP Richard R. Deluca sold 25,467 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, October 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $72.00, for a total transaction of $1,833,624.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 82,135 shares in the company, valued at $5,913,720. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 107,360 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, September 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.18, for a total value of $7,534,524.80. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 100,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $7,018,000. 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 90 days. Corporate insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 34.48% and a net margin of 8.44%. The firm had revenue of $10.79 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.87 billion. On average, sell-side analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 EPS for the current fiscal year.
Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, October 25th that authorizes the company to buyback $10.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to repurchase up to 5.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are typically a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.
The business also recently declared 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. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 14th. This is an increase from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.87%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 48.24%.
Several equities analysts have commented on MRK shares. SunTrust Banks reissued a “buy” rating and set a $77.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Thursday, August 16th. Morgan Stanley set a $74.00 price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 23rd. Barclays raised their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $75.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, September 7th. Zacks Investment Research raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $79.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Wednesday, September 26th. Finally, Guggenheim started coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Monday, October 8th. They set a “buy” rating for the company. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $73.65.
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Merck & Co., Inc. Company 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.
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