Lourd Capital LLC lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 156.7% during the 4th quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 14,846 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 9,063 shares during the quarter. Lourd Capital LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $835,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
Several other hedge funds have also recently bought and sold shares of the stock. First Personal Financial Services lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 4.8% during the 2nd quarter. First Personal Financial Services now owns 9,014 shares of the company’s stock worth $578,000 after acquiring an additional 413 shares during the period. Penobscot Investment Management Company Inc. lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.7% during the 2nd quarter. Penobscot Investment Management Company Inc. now owns 25,529 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,636,000 after acquiring an additional 180 shares during the period. Nikko Asset Management Americas Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $7,781,000. Pegasus Partners Ltd. lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.3% in the 2nd quarter. Pegasus Partners Ltd. now owns 12,668 shares of the company’s stock valued at $812,000 after buying an additional 290 shares during the period. Finally, Blair William & Co. IL lifted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 23.7% in the 2nd quarter. Blair William & Co. IL now owns 419,531 shares of the company’s stock valued at $26,888,000 after buying an additional 80,431 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 74.79% of the company’s stock.
In other news, EVP Michael J. Holston sold 12,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, January 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total transaction of $770,375.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Director Wendell P. Weeks sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $53.57, for a total transaction of $267,850.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 5,100 shares in the company, valued at $273,207. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 82,500 shares of company stock valued at $5,026,025. 0.25% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
Several analysts have recently commented on the company. Leerink Swann raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating in a report on Monday. BMO Capital Markets set a $65.00 price target on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, March 8th. Jefferies Group set a $56.00 price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, February 26th. Morgan Stanley raised 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, February 7th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group reduced their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $66.00 to $65.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, February 14th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and twelve have issued a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $66.41.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE MRK) traded down $0.09 during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $54.80. 11,138,715 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 13,323,750. The firm has a market capitalization of $149,290.00, a P/E ratio of 29.98, a PEG ratio of 2.28 and a beta of 0.81. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $53.12 and a 1-year high of $66.41. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.62, a current ratio of 1.33 and a quick ratio of 1.06.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.94 by $0.04. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 6.40% and a return on equity of 28.61%. The firm had revenue of $10.43 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.48 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.89 earnings per share. Merck & Co., Inc.’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.16 EPS for the current fiscal year.
Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a share repurchase plan on Tuesday, November 28th that allows the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are usually an indication that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.
The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 6th. Investors of record on Thursday, March 15th will be paid a $0.48 dividend. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.50%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is presently 105.49%.
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Merck & Co., Inc. Profile
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.
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