Ropes Wealth Advisors LLC raised its position in Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 13.6% during the second quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The firm owned 36,391 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 4,349 shares during the period. Ropes Wealth Advisors LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $2,096,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Several other hedge funds have also bought and sold shares of the company. Accredited Investors Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 0.3% in the first quarter. Accredited Investors Inc. now owns 9,125 shares of the company’s stock worth $483,000 after buying an additional 23 shares in the last quarter. Thomaspartners Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 0.3% in the first quarter. Thomaspartners Inc. now owns 9,024 shares of the company’s stock worth $477,000 after buying an additional 26 shares in the last quarter. QCI Asset Management Inc. NY boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 1.1% in the second quarter. QCI Asset Management Inc. NY now owns 2,382 shares of the company’s stock worth $137,000 after buying an additional 27 shares in the last quarter. Vicus Capital boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 0.3% in the first quarter. Vicus Capital now owns 11,121 shares of the company’s stock worth $588,000 after buying an additional 37 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 0.8% in the first quarter. Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management now owns 4,738 shares of the company’s stock worth $250,000 after buying an additional 39 shares in the last quarter. 72.93% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded down 0.81% on Thursday, hitting $62.29. The stock had a trading volume of 4,403,141 shares. Merck & Co. has a one year low of $47.97 and a one year high of $64.00. The stock has a market cap of $172.24 billion, a PE ratio of 34.17 and a beta of 0.68. The company’s 50 day moving average is $62.70 and its 200 day moving average is $58.30.
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. The firm earned $9.84 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.79 billion. Merck & Co. had a net margin of 13.01% and a return on equity of 23.41%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up .6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.86 earnings per share. Equities research analysts predict that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 7th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.46 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.93%. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 101.10%.
A number of brokerages have commented on MRK. Argus reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Thursday, June 9th. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “market perform” rating and set a $62.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Tuesday, August 2nd. Jefferies Group lifted their price target on Merck & Co. from $50.00 to $53.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 14th. Leerink Swann reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $58.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Thursday, July 14th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Cos. reiterated a “neutral” rating and set a $62.00 price objective (up previously from $58.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Monday, August 8th. One investment 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. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of €63.20 ($70.23).
In other Merck & Co. news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of €61.81 ($68.68), for a total value of €24,229,520.00 ($26,921,688.89). Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 760,877 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €47,029,807.37 ($52,255,341.52). The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of €62.07 ($68.97), for a total transaction of €2,532,456.00 ($2,813,840.00). Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 128,973 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €8,005,354.11 ($8,894,837.90). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.
Merck & Co. Company Profile
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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