Cipher Capital LP Sells 85,254 Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

Cipher Capital LP cut its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 71.2% in the third quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The firm owned 34,426 shares of the company’s stock after selling 85,254 shares during the quarter. Cipher Capital LP’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $2,205,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently modified their holdings of the business. Perennial Advisors LLC raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.7% in the second quarter. Perennial Advisors LLC now owns 1,626 shares of the company’s stock valued at $104,000 after buying an additional 157 shares during the last quarter. Stelac Advisory Services LLC bought a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the second quarter valued at about $104,000. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 15.5% in the second quarter. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 1,727 shares of the company’s stock valued at $111,000 after buying an additional 232 shares during the last quarter. NewSquare Capital LLC raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 728.3% in the third quarter. NewSquare Capital LLC now owns 14,801 shares of the company’s stock valued at $115,000 after buying an additional 13,014 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Solaris Asset Management LLC raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 6.3% during the 2nd quarter. Solaris Asset Management LLC now owns 1,940 shares of the company’s stock worth $124,000 after purchasing an additional 115 shares during the last quarter. 73.24% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) traded up $0.14 during trading on Friday, hitting $54.87. The stock had a trading volume of 18,523,151 shares, compared to its average volume of 14,490,000. The firm has a market cap of $149,490.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 59.00, a P/E/G ratio of 2.46 and a beta of 0.75. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52 week low of $53.36 and a 52 week high of $66.80. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57, a current ratio of 1.43 and a quick ratio of 1.16.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its earnings results on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.94 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $10.43 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.48 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 27.73% and a net margin of 6.40%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $0.89 EPS. equities research analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.15 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock buyback plan on Tuesday, November 28th that allows the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are generally a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 6th. Investors of record on Thursday, March 15th will be given a $0.48 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 14th. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.50%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 206.45%.

In related news, EVP Michael J. Holston sold 12,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, January 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total value of $770,375.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, Director Wendell P. Weeks sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $53.57, for a total value of $267,850.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 5,100 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $273,207. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 82,500 shares of company stock valued at $5,026,025 over the last quarter. 0.25% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several brokerages have weighed in on MRK. Morgan Stanley boosted their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $60.00 to $63.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a report on Wednesday. Leerink Swann dropped their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $69.00 to $67.00 and set a “market perform” rating for the company in a report on Tuesday, February 6th. Credit Suisse Group dropped their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $67.00 to $66.00 and set an “outperform” rating for the company in a report on Monday, February 5th. ValuEngine cut Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, February 2nd. Finally, BMO Capital Markets boosted their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $68.00 to $72.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 17th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co., Inc. presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $66.88.

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About Merck & Co., Inc.

Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services and Alliances. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.

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

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