Cypress Asset Management Inc. TX lessened its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 3.8% in the 4th quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The fund owned 100,717 shares of the company’s stock after selling 3,970 shares during the period. Merck & Co., Inc. comprises 1.2% of Cypress Asset Management Inc. TX’s portfolio, making the stock its 25th largest holding. Cypress Asset Management Inc. TX’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $5,667,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Krilogy Financial LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.4% in the second quarter. Krilogy Financial LLC now owns 3,129 shares of the company’s stock valued at $201,000 after acquiring an additional 11 shares in the last quarter. Balentine LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.0% in the second quarter. Balentine LLC now owns 2,107 shares of the company’s stock valued at $135,000 after acquiring an additional 20 shares in the last quarter. Jackson Grant Investment Advisers Inc. boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.4% in the second quarter. Jackson Grant Investment Advisers Inc. now owns 9,291 shares of the company’s stock valued at $595,000 after acquiring an additional 39 shares in the last quarter. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.9% in the second quarter. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. now owns 4,313 shares of the company’s stock valued at $276,000 after acquiring an additional 40 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Cornerstone Advisory LLP boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.4% in the second quarter. Cornerstone Advisory LLP now owns 11,110 shares of the company’s stock valued at $712,000 after acquiring an additional 43 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 74.79% of the company’s stock.

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In related news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, January 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total transaction of $3,697,800.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 101,484 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $6,254,458.92. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Wendell P. Weeks sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $53.57, for a total transaction of $267,850.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 5,100 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $273,207. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 82,500 shares of company stock valued at $5,026,025 over the last three months. 0.25% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) opened at $55.67 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of $148,964.50, a PE ratio of 59.86, a P/E/G ratio of 2.23 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 current ratio of 1.33, a quick ratio of 1.06 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.62.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.94 by $0.04. The firm had revenue of $10.43 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.48 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 6.40% and a return on equity of 28.61%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.89 earnings per share. analysts predict 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 buyback plan on Tuesday, November 28th that authorizes the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are typically an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 6th. Investors of record on Thursday, March 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.48 per share. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, March 14th. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.45%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 206.45%.

MRK has been the subject of several research analyst reports. SunTrust Banks upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their price objective for the company from $54.00 to $72.00 in a research note on Tuesday, January 16th. BMO Capital Markets set a $68.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 16th. ValuEngine raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 10th. Bank of America started coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Tuesday, November 28th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $64.00 target price for the company. Finally, DZ Bank raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, February 13th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $66.41.

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About Merck & Co., Inc.

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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