Exxonmobil Investment Management Inc. TX lowered its stake in Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.5% during the third quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 706,056 shares of the company’s stock after selling 10,448 shares during the period. Merck & Co. comprises about 0.9% of Exxonmobil Investment Management Inc. TX’s holdings, making the stock its 19th largest position. Exxonmobil Investment Management Inc. TX’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $44,065,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other institutional investors also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Acrospire Investment Management LLC boosted its position in Merck & Co. by 5.9% in the second quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 1,800 shares of the company’s stock valued at $104,000 after buying an additional 100 shares during the period. Roble Belko & Company Inc boosted its position in Merck & Co. by 124.7% in the second quarter. Roble Belko & Company Inc now owns 1,802 shares of the company’s stock valued at $104,000 after buying an additional 1,000 shares during the period. Americafirst Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in Merck & Co. during the second quarter valued at $115,000. NewSquare Capital LLC boosted its position in Merck & Co. by 14.2% in the second quarter. NewSquare Capital LLC now owns 2,104 shares of the company’s stock valued at $121,000 after buying an additional 261 shares during the period. Finally, Pinkerton Retirement Specialists LLC boosted its position in Merck & Co. by 1,925.2% in the second quarter. Pinkerton Retirement Specialists LLC now owns 2,248 shares of the company’s stock valued at $130,000 after buying an additional 2,137 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 72.55% of the company’s stock.

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

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 25th. The company reported $1.07 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.99 by $0.08. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 24.25% and a net margin of 13.76%. The company earned $10.50 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.17 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.96 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 4.6% compared to the same quarter last year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, January 9th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, December 15th will be given a dividend of $0.47 per share. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.02%. This is an increase from Merck & Co.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.46. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, December 13th. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 93.88%.

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Several equities research analysts have commented on MRK shares. Argus restated a “buy” rating and issued a $80.00 target price (up previously from $65.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Thursday, October 27th. Vetr upgraded Merck & Co. from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $65.80 target price on the stock in a research note on Monday, November 7th. Bank of America Corp. upgraded Merck & Co. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and boosted their target price for the company from $57.00 to $70.00 in a research note on Thursday, October 13th. Berenberg Bank restated a “hold” rating and issued a $62.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Sunday, September 11th. Finally, Jefferies Group restated a “hold” rating and issued a $65.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Sunday, October 16th. Thirteen analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co. currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $66.24.

In other news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 140,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.03, for a total transaction of $9,104,200.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 514,957 shares in the company, valued at $33,487,653.71. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, 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, for a total value of $2,532,456.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 128,973 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $8,005,354.11. 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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