Sprucegrove Investment Management Ltd. decreased its position in shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 10.8% during the second quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 374,500 shares of the company’s stock after selling 45,200 shares during the period. Sprucegrove Investment Management Ltd.’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $21,575,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

A number of other hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in MRK. Americafirst Capital Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth approximately $115,000. Lowe fs LLC raised its stake in shares of 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 in the last quarter. JNBA Financial Advisors raised its stake in shares of 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 in the last quarter. Keel Point LLC bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth approximately $204,000. Finally, NorthRock Partners LLC raised its stake in shares of 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 in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.93% of the company’s stock.

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

Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded up 1.80% during midday trading on Monday, reaching $63.90. 20,345,605 shares of the company traded hands. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $62.66 and a 200 day moving average price of $58.40. The firm has a market capitalization of $176.70 billion, a PE ratio of 35.05 and a beta of 0.68. 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 data on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.91 by $0.02. The firm earned $9.84 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.79 billion. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 23.41% and a net margin of 13.01%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up .6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.86 EPS. Analysts expect that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th were given a dividend of $0.46 per share. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.88%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, September 13th. Merck & Co.’s payout ratio is 101.10%.

A number of brokerages have recently commented on MRK. BMO Capital Markets lowered shares of Merck & Co. from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $62.00 price target for the company. in a research note on Monday, July 18th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Sanford C. Bernstein restated an “outperform” rating and set a $74.00 target price (up from $66.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Thursday, August 11th. Credit Suisse Group AG restated a “hold” rating and set a $59.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Wednesday, July 13th. Piper Jaffray Cos. restated a “neutral” rating and set a $62.00 target price (up from $58.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Monday, August 8th. Finally, Jefferies Group cut their target price on shares of Merck & Co. from $54.00 to $53.00 and set a “hold” rating for the company in a research report on Tuesday, June 14th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have assigned a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of €63.20 ($70.23).

In related news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of €62.07 ($68.97), for a total transaction of €2,532,456.00 ($2,813,840.00). Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 128,973 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately €8,005,354.11 ($8,894,837.90). The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, EVP Clark Golestani sold 3,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of €63.03 ($70.03), for a total value of €189,090.00 ($210,100.00). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.

Merck & Co. Company 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, 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.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:MRK

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