Excalibur Management Corp cut its position in shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 0.4% during the second quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 91,816 shares of the company’s stock after selling 340 shares during the period. Merck & Co. comprises about 4.5% of Excalibur Management Corp’s holdings, making the stock its 7th largest position. Excalibur Management Corp’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $5,290,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in MRK. Raymond James Trust N.A. raised its position in Merck & Co. by 3.3% in the second quarter. Raymond James Trust N.A. now owns 337,745 shares of the company’s stock worth $19,457,000 after buying an additional 10,865 shares during the last quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB raised its position in Merck & Co. by 16.1% in the second quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 2,411,985 shares of the company’s stock worth $138,954,000 after buying an additional 334,806 shares during the last quarter. Orbis Allan Gray Ltd bought a new position in Merck & Co. during the first quarter worth about $239,761,000. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. raised its position in Merck & Co. by 7.0% in the first quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 1,107,242 shares of the company’s stock worth $58,584,000 after buying an additional 72,808 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Avalon Advisors LLC raised its position in Merck & Co. by 1.1% in the first quarter. Avalon Advisors LLC now owns 522,566 shares of the company’s stock worth $27,649,000 after buying an additional 5,754 shares during the last quarter. 72.93% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded down 3.08% during trading on Tuesday, hitting $61.93. The stock had a trading volume of 13,955,380 shares. The firm has a market cap of $171.25 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 33.97 and a beta of 0.68. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $62.68 and its 200 day moving average is $58.56. Merck & Co. has a 1-year low of $47.97 and a 1-year high of $64.86.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 23.41% and a net margin of 13.01%. The company had revenue of $9.84 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.79 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.86 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up .6% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts anticipate that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 earnings per share for the current year.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, September 15th were given a dividend of $0.46 per share. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.97%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, September 13th. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 101.10%.
MRK has been the topic of a number of recent research reports. Berenberg Bank reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $62.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Sunday, September 11th. Argus reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $65.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Wednesday, September 14th. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $56.00 price objective (down previously from $57.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Monday, September 12th. Credit Suisse Group AG raised Merck & Co. from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating and upped their price objective for the stock from $62.00 to $73.00 in a report on Sunday, August 7th. Finally, Barclays PLC upped their price objective on Merck & Co. from $66.00 to $72.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, September 9th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have assigned a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of €63.37 ($70.41).
In related news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction on Friday, August 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of €61.81 ($68.68), for a total value of €24,229,520.00 ($26,921,688.89). Following the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 760,877 shares in the company, valued at approximately €47,029,807.37 ($52,255,341.52). The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 39,200 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of €62.61 ($69.57), for a total value of €2,454,312.00 ($2,727,013.33). Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 39,200 shares in the company, valued at €2,454,312 ($2,727,013.33). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.
About Merck & Co.
Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, which it markets directly and through its joint ventures. It operates through one segment, Pharmaceutical. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.
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