Private Capital Advisors Inc. bought a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) during the third quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The firm bought 9,149 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $586,000.

A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently modified their holdings of the business. Stokes & Hubbell Capital Management LLC bought a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the third quarter worth about $239,000. Global Trust Asset Management LLC boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 34.6% during the third quarter. Global Trust Asset Management LLC now owns 12,027 shares of the company’s stock worth $853,000 after buying an additional 3,094 shares during the last quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 8.6% during the third quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC now owns 42,637 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,024,000 after buying an additional 3,372 shares during the last quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.9% during the third quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC now owns 1,112,496 shares of the company’s stock worth $78,920,000 after buying an additional 10,060 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Bainco International Investors boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.8% during the third quarter. Bainco International Investors now owns 157,897 shares of the company’s stock worth $11,201,000 after buying an additional 2,741 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.32% of the company’s stock.

In related news, insider Roger M. Perlmutter sold 225,443 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.27, for a total value of $16,969,094.61. Following the sale, the insider now owns 366,998 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $27,623,939.46. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 36,218 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.14, for a total value of $2,721,420.52. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 82,481 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,197,622.34. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have sold 1,279,104 shares of company stock worth $92,845,846. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of equities analysts have issued reports on MRK shares. SunTrust Banks raised their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $77.00 to $80.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, October 29th. Citigroup raised their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $79.00 to $84.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 31st. Bank of America raised their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $74.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, July 30th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $80.00 target price on the stock in a report on Monday, October 8th. Finally, Morgan Stanley set a $74.00 target price on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, August 23rd. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $71.92.

NYSE MRK opened at $74.86 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of $202.43 billion, a PE ratio of 17.54, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.04 and a beta of 0.73. The company has a current ratio of 1.44, a quick ratio of 1.04 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61. Merck & Co., Inc. has a one year low of $52.83 and a one year high of $75.99.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. The company had revenue of $10.79 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.87 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 34.48% and a net margin of 8.44%. Research analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a share buyback plan on Thursday, October 25th that permits the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to buy up to 5.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are generally an indication that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Stockholders of record on Monday, December 17th will be given a dividend of $0.55 per share. The ex-dividend date is Friday, December 14th. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.94%. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 48.24%.

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Merck & Co., Inc. Profile

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates in four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, asthma, nasal allergy symptoms, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, fungal, intra-abdominal infections, hypertension, arthritis and pain, inflammatory, osteoporosis, and fertility diseases.

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

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