United Bank VA raised its position in shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 4.5% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor owned 64,957 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 2,790 shares during the period. Merck & Co. makes up about 3.7% of United Bank VA’s holdings, making the stock its 4th largest position. United Bank VA’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $3,741,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also modified their holdings of the stock. Americafirst Capital Management LLC purchased a new stake in Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth about $115,000. Lowe fs LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 1.8% in the second quarter. Lowe fs LLC now owns 2,619 shares of the company’s stock worth $151,000 after buying an additional 46 shares during the last quarter. JNBA Financial Advisors boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 3.1% in the second quarter. JNBA Financial Advisors now owns 3,012 shares of the company’s stock worth $174,000 after buying an additional 91 shares during the last quarter. Keel Point LLC purchased a new stake in Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth about $204,000. Finally, NorthRock Partners LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 1.2% in the first quarter. NorthRock Partners LLC now owns 3,862 shares of the company’s stock worth $206,000 after buying an additional 45 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.93% of the company’s stock.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded down 3.08% during midday trading on Tuesday, reaching $61.93. The company had a trading volume of 13,955,380 shares. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $62.68 and its 200 day moving average is $58.56. Merck & Co. has a one year low of $47.97 and a one year high of $64.86. The company has a market capitalization of $171.25 billion, a PE ratio of 33.97 and a beta of 0.68.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. Merck & Co. had a net margin of 13.01% and a return on equity of 23.41%. The business earned $9.84 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.79 billion. During the same period last year, the business posted $0.86 EPS. Merck & Co.’s revenue was up .6% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts forecast that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 15th were given a dividend of $0.46 per share. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.97%. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 101.10%.
MRK has been the subject of a number of analyst reports. Vetr cut Merck & Co. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $64.84 price target for the company. in a research report on Monday. Argus reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $65.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Wednesday, September 14th. Morgan Stanley set a $60.00 price target on Merck & Co. and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 13th. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $56.00 price target (down previously from $57.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Monday, September 12th. Finally, Berenberg Bank reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $62.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Sunday, September 11th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have assigned a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the company. Merck & Co. currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of €63.37 ($70.41).
In other Merck & Co. news, EVP Clark Golestani sold 3,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of €63.03 ($70.03), for a total transaction of €189,090.00 ($210,100.00). The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of €61.81 ($68.68), for a total transaction of €24,229,520.00 ($26,921,688.89). Following the sale, the chairman now owns 760,877 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €47,029,807.37 ($52,255,341.52). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company 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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