Sfmg LLC reduced its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 79.4% during the 3rd quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 3,843 shares of the company’s stock after selling 14,818 shares during the quarter. Sfmg LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $278,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.
Several other hedge funds have also recently bought and sold shares of MRK. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 86.5% in the third quarter. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 1,656 shares of the company’s stock valued at $117,000 after purchasing an additional 768 shares during the period. WESPAC Advisors SoCal LLC acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the third quarter valued at $118,000. Atlantic Trust LLC acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the second quarter valued at $127,000. Almanack Investment Partners LLC. acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the third quarter valued at $139,000. Finally, Acropolis Investment Management LLC acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the third quarter valued at $140,000. 72.45% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
NYSE:MRK traded up $0.70 during trading hours on Friday, reaching $77.52. 8,842,502 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 12,485,344. 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 $209.01 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.86, a P/E/G ratio of 2.05 and a beta of 0.62. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52-week low of $52.83 and a 52-week high of $80.19.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Friday, February 1st. The company reported $1.04 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $11 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.93 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 14.71% and a return on equity of 35.10%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s revenue was up 5.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.98 earnings per share. Research analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.65 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its board has initiated a share buyback program on Thursday, October 25th that allows the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to repurchase up to 5.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are often an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.
The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 5th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 15th will be given a $0.55 dividend. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.84%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is currently 50.69%.
In related news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 231,566 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, February 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.08, for a total transaction of $18,080,673.28. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now directly owns 923,516 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $72,108,129.28. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director Thomas H. Glocer sold 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, February 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.96, for a total transaction of $759,600.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.32% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
A number of brokerages have recently issued reports on MRK. Wolfe Research began coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, October 23rd. They set an “outperform” rating on the stock. BMO Capital Markets boosted their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $82.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Monday, October 22nd. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, October 18th. Citigroup boosted their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $79.00 to $84.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 31st. Finally, Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, January 24th. Six research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $73.15.
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 agents to treat cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, asthma, nasal allergy, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, fungal, intra-abdominal, hypertension, arthritis and pain, inflammatory, osteoporosis, and fertility diseases.
Further Reading: Balance Sheet