Lynch & Associates IN cut its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 4.2% in the 4th quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The fund owned 92,638 shares of the company’s stock after selling 4,098 shares during the period. Merck & Co., Inc. accounts for approximately 2.0% of Lynch & Associates IN’s holdings, making the stock its 19th largest holding. Lynch & Associates IN’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $5,213,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other institutional investors also recently bought and sold shares of MRK. Korea Investment CORP boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.3% during the second quarter. Korea Investment CORP now owns 2,654,495 shares of the company’s stock worth $170,127,000 after buying an additional 59,061 shares in the last quarter. Rand Wealth LLC boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.0% during the second quarter. Rand Wealth LLC now owns 4,495 shares of the company’s stock worth $288,000 after buying an additional 129 shares in the last quarter. Smithfield Trust Co. boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.1% during the second quarter. Smithfield Trust Co. now owns 24,556 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,574,000 after buying an additional 268 shares in the last quarter. Capital Investment Advisory Services LLC boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 5.2% during the second quarter. Capital Investment Advisory Services LLC now owns 9,724 shares of the company’s stock worth $623,000 after buying an additional 477 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Callahan Advisors LLC bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the second quarter worth approximately $208,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.85% of the company’s stock.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, 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 value of $267,850.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 5,100 shares in the company, valued at approximately $273,207. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, January 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total transaction of $3,697,800.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 101,484 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,254,458.92. 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. Insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE MRK) opened at $54.90 on Thursday. 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. The company has a market cap of $149,570.00, a P/E ratio of 59.03, a P/E/G ratio of 2.49 and a beta of 0.75.

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

Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its board has initiated a share repurchase program on Tuesday, November 28th that authorizes the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are often an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

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

A number of brokerages recently weighed in on MRK. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $70.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Sunday, October 29th. Berenberg Bank restated a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Wednesday, November 1st. Bank of America began coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Tuesday, November 28th. They set a “buy” rating and a $64.00 target price for the company. ValuEngine cut shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, February 2nd. Finally, Morgan Stanley raised their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $60.00 to $63.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a report on Wednesday, February 7th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and eleven have issued a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $66.35.

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

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