Peoples Financial Services CORP. cut its stake in Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.2% during the second quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 16,315 shares of the company’s stock after selling 200 shares during the period. Peoples Financial Services CORP.’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $940,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.
A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Americafirst Capital Management LLC bought a new position in shares of Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth approximately $115,000. Lowe fs LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 1.8% in the second quarter. Lowe fs LLC now owns 2,619 shares of the company’s stock worth $151,000 after buying an additional 46 shares during the period. Keel Point LLC acquired a new stake in Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth about $204,000. Carlson Capital Management acquired a new stake in Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth about $217,000. Finally, Indiana Trust & Investment Management CO acquired a new stake in Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth about $220,000. 72.92% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded down 0.10% during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $62.96. The company had a trading volume of 7,679,801 shares. Merck & Co. has a one year low of $47.97 and a one year high of $64.00. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $62.85 and its 200-day moving average is $57.69. The firm has a market capitalization of $174.10 billion, a P/E ratio of 34.54 and a beta of 0.63.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $9.84 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.79 billion. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 23.41% and a net margin of 13.01%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.86 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 7th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, September 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.46 per share. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.92%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, September 13th. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 101.10%.
A number of analysts have issued reports on the stock. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reiterated a “neutral” rating and issued a $60.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Wednesday, June 8th. Piper Jaffray Cos. reiterated a “neutral” rating and issued a $62.00 target price (up from $58.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Monday, August 8th. Argus restated a “buy” rating and issued a $65.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Wednesday, September 14th. Jefferies Group restated a “hold” rating and issued a $56.00 price objective (down from $57.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Monday, September 12th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets cut shares of Merck & Co. from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $62.00 price objective for the company. in a research note on Monday, July 18th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have assigned a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co. presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of €63.20 ($70.23).
In other news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 30,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of €57.49 ($63.88), for a total transaction of €1,724,700.00 ($1,916,333.33). Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 162,151 shares in the company, valued at €9,322,060.99 ($10,357,845.54). The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, EVP Clark Golestani sold 3,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of €63.03 ($70.03), for a total value of €189,090.00 ($210,100.00). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.
About Merck & Co.
Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, which it markets directly and through its joint ventures. It operates through one segment, Pharmaceutical. 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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