Farr Miller & Washington LLC DC lessened its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 10.1% during the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 8,906 shares of the company’s stock after selling 1,000 shares during the quarter. Farr Miller & Washington LLC DC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $747,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Other institutional investors have also made changes to their positions in the company. LFA Lugano Financial Advisors SA increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 250.0% in the 2nd quarter. LFA Lugano Financial Advisors SA now owns 315 shares of the company’s stock valued at $26,000 after buying an additional 225 shares during the period. JJJ Advisors Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter worth about $27,000. PRW Wealth Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 4th quarter worth about $41,000. Aspire Private Capital LLC bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 4th quarter worth about $55,000. Finally, Thor Advisors LLC bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 1st quarter worth about $69,000. 76.05% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Several research firms have recently weighed in on MRK. Morgan Stanley upped their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $84.00 to $90.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, June 21st. Bank of America set a $97.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, July 11th. Atlantic Securities raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating in a report on Monday, May 13th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Mizuho reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $97.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Monday, August 5th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets upped their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $83.00 to $84.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a report on Wednesday, May 1st. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seventeen have issued a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $92.56.

Shares of NYSE MRK opened at $86.57 on Wednesday. The firm’s 50-day simple moving average is $83.51 and its 200 day simple moving average is $81.06. The company has a market cap of $217.79 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.95, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.73 and a beta of 0.56. The company has a quick ratio of 0.92, a current ratio of 1.21 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12-month low of $66.10 and a 12-month high of $87.07.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 30th. The company reported $1.30 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.16 by $0.14. The business had revenue of $11.76 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.94 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 21.10% and a return on equity of 43.34%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 12.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.06 EPS. On average, equities analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.91 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 7th. Investors of record on Monday, September 16th will be given a dividend of $0.55 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, September 13th. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.54%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 50.69%.

In related news, EVP Richard R. Deluca sold 6,427 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.09, for a total transaction of $546,873.43. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 103,223 shares in the company, valued at approximately $8,783,245.07. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CFO Robert M. Davis sold 216,718 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, June 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $85.43, for a total transaction of $18,514,218.74. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 354,378 shares in the company, valued at approximately $30,274,512.54. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.27% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

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.

Read More: Equity Income

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

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