Lee Danner & Bass Inc. lowered its position in shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.5% during the third quarter, according to its most recent filing with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 95,420 shares of the company’s stock after selling 1,450 shares during the period. Lee Danner & Bass Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $5,955,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other large investors also recently modified their holdings of the stock. Oak Associates Ltd. OH boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 1.3% in the first quarter. Oak Associates Ltd. OH now owns 55,800 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,952,000 after buying an additional 700 shares in the last quarter. First Republic Investment Management Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 27.8% in the first quarter. First Republic Investment Management Inc. now owns 642,313 shares of the company’s stock worth $33,983,000 after buying an additional 139,749 shares in the last quarter. Kovitz Investment Group Partners LLC bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co. during the first quarter worth $302,000. BlueMountain Capital Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co. during the first quarter worth $284,000. Finally, Lebenthal Asset Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co. during the first quarter worth $6,458,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.55% of the company’s stock.

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

Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded down 1.61% on Wednesday, hitting $61.19. The company had a trading volume of 12,341,082 shares. The company has a market capitalization of $168.71 billion, a P/E ratio of 31.25 and a beta of 0.76. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $61.61 and a 200 day moving average price of $60.15. Merck & Co. has a 12-month low of $47.97 and a 12-month high of $65.46.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last posted 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. The business earned $10.50 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.17 billion. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 24.25% and a net margin of 13.76%. Merck & Co.’s quarterly revenue was up 4.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.96 earnings per share. Equities analysts expect that Merck & Co. will post $3.78 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, January 9th. Investors of record on Thursday, December 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.47 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, December 13th. This is an increase from Merck & Co.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.46. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.07%. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 93.88%.

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A number of equities research analysts recently weighed in on MRK shares. BMO Capital Markets restated a “market perform” rating and set a $62.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Tuesday, August 2nd. Credit Suisse Group AG upgraded shares of Merck & Co. from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating and boosted their price target for the stock from $62.00 to $73.00 in a research report on Sunday, August 7th. Jefferies Group boosted their price target on shares of Merck & Co. from $53.00 to $57.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, August 8th. Deutsche Bank AG boosted their price target on shares of Merck & Co. from $58.00 to $59.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, August 8th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Cos. reiterated a “neutral” rating and issued a $62.00 price target (up from $58.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Monday, August 8th. Thirteen investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $66.24.

In other Merck & Co. news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on 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 completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 128,973 shares in the company, valued at $8,005,354.11. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director Rochelle B. Lazarus sold 20,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $59.06, for a total value of $1,181,200.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 9,594 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $566,621.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate 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.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:MRK

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