Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) is Monarch Capital Management Inc.’s Largest Position

Monarch Capital Management Inc. lessened its position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 3.6% during the 3rd quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The institutional investor owned 145,603 shares of the company’s stock after selling 5,404 shares during the quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. accounts for approximately 3.7% of Monarch Capital Management Inc.’s portfolio, making the stock its biggest position. Monarch Capital Management Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $10,329,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Other hedge funds have also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC increased its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 86.5% in 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 last quarter. WESPAC Advisors SoCal LLC purchased a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 3rd quarter valued at about $118,000. Atlantic Trust LLC purchased a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter valued at about $127,000. Almanack Investment Partners LLC. purchased a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 3rd quarter valued at about $139,000. Finally, Acropolis Investment Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 3rd quarter valued at about $140,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.58% of the company’s stock.

A number of research analysts have recently commented on the company. Credit Suisse Group set a $86.00 price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, December 13th. Zacks Investment Research raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $83.00 target price for the company in a research report on Friday, January 4th. Morgan Stanley set a $81.00 target price on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, December 20th. Citigroup set a $65.00 target price on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, December 20th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets upped their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $82.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Monday, October 22nd. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $73.32.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, SVP Ashley Watson sold 47,036 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, October 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $74.33, for a total transaction of $3,496,185.88. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 32,990 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,452,146.70. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 277,879 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $73.81, for a total value of $20,510,248.99. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 277,879 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $20,510,248.99. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 612,043 shares of company stock valued at $45,530,574 over the last ninety days. 0.32% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Merck & Co., Inc. stock opened at $74.90 on Monday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a twelve month low of $52.83 and a twelve month high of $80.19. The company has a quick ratio of 1.15, a current ratio of 1.44 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61. The company has a market cap of $203.32 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.82, a P/E/G ratio of 1.82 and a beta of 0.67.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates 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 company had revenue of $10.79 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.87 billion. As a group, research analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 17th were given a dividend of $0.55 per share. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.94%. This is a boost from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, December 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 55.28%.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a share repurchase program on Thursday, October 25th that allows the company to buyback $10.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to repurchase up to 5.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are often an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

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

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