Liberty Wealth Management LLC purchased a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) during the 4th quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The firm purchased 2,235 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $170,000.

Several other hedge funds have also added to or reduced their stakes in MRK. UNIVEST FINANCIAL Corp raised its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 6.8% during the fourth quarter. UNIVEST FINANCIAL Corp now owns 15,030 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,148,000 after purchasing an additional 961 shares during the period. Jolley Asset Management LLC raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 4.4% in the 4th quarter. Jolley Asset Management LLC now owns 60,665 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,635,000 after acquiring an additional 2,533 shares during the period. Cavalier Investments LLC purchased a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 4th quarter valued at $1,195,000. First Personal Financial Services raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 118.2% in the 4th quarter. First Personal Financial Services now owns 9,182 shares of the company’s stock valued at $702,000 after acquiring an additional 4,974 shares during the period. Finally, Venturi Wealth Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 4th quarter valued at $299,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 75.17% of the company’s stock.

A number of equities analysts have recently commented on the stock. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 18th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $93.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Monday, April 1st. Goldman Sachs Group assumed coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, May 28th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $85.00 target price on the stock. BMO Capital Markets reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, February 19th. Finally, Atlantic Securities raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating in a research note on Monday, May 13th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $83.08.

MRK opened at $82.98 on Wednesday. The firm has a market cap of $213.61 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.12, a PEG ratio of 1.96 and a beta of 0.55. Merck & Co., Inc. has a twelve month low of $59.80 and a twelve month high of $83.85. The company has a quick ratio of 1.06, a current ratio of 1.37 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, April 30th. The company reported $1.22 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.05 by $0.17. The business had revenue of $10.82 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.45 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 19.50% and a return on equity of 39.85%. The business’s revenue was up 7.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the business earned $1.05 EPS. Equities analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.72 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 8th. Shareholders of record on Monday, June 17th will be issued a dividend of $0.55 per share. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.65%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, June 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 50.69%.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, EVP Robert M. Davis sold 192,572 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, March 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $82.38, for a total transaction of $15,864,081.36. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 330,232 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $27,204,512.16. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 192,736 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, March 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $82.05, for a total transaction of $15,813,988.80. Following the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 990,451 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $81,266,504.55. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 445,308 shares of company stock valued at $36,421,320. 0.27% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

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Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, intra-abdominal, fungal infection, insomnia, and inflammatory diseases.

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

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