Cardinal Capital Management Grows Stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

Cardinal Capital Management increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.9% in the 4th quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The fund owned 66,338 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 1,264 shares during the period. Cardinal Capital Management’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $3,733,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

Several other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Family Legacy Inc. increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 56.4% during the fourth quarter. Family Legacy Inc. now owns 26,591 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,496,000 after buying an additional 9,591 shares during the last quarter. Kovack Advisors Inc. purchased a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $1,096,000. Asset Planning Services Ltd. increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.8% during the fourth quarter. Asset Planning Services Ltd. now owns 353,721 shares of the company’s stock valued at $19,904,000 after buying an additional 2,850 shares during the last quarter. Allied Investment Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $207,000. Finally, TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 4.9% during the fourth quarter. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. now owns 19,347 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,089,000 after buying an additional 903 shares during the last quarter. 74.60% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, January 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total transaction of $3,697,800.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 101,484 shares in the company, valued at $6,254,458.92. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director Wendell P. Weeks sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, February 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $53.57, for a total transaction of $267,850.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 5,100 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $273,207. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 82,500 shares of company stock valued at $5,026,025 in the last quarter. 0.25% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of equities analysts have weighed in on the stock. Leerink Swann upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating in a research report on Monday, March 12th. BMO Capital Markets set a $65.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, March 8th. Jefferies Group set a $56.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, February 26th. Credit Suisse Group dropped their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $66.00 to $65.00 and set an “outperform” rating for the company in a research report on Wednesday, February 14th. Finally, DZ Bank upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, February 13th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $66.41.

Merck & Co., Inc. stock opened at $54.69 on Thursday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.62, a quick ratio of 1.06 and a current ratio of 1.33. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12-month low of $53.12 and a 12-month high of $66.41. The firm has a market cap of $147,292.86, a price-to-earnings ratio of 58.81, a P/E/G ratio of 2.21 and a beta of 0.81.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its earnings results on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.94 by $0.04. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 6.40% and a return on equity of 28.61%. The firm had revenue of $10.43 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.48 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.89 earnings per share. Merck & Co., Inc.’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.16 EPS for the current year.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its board has approved a stock buyback plan on Tuesday, November 28th that allows the company to buyback $10.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are usually a sign that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 6th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 15th will be given a dividend of $0.48 per share. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, March 14th. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.51%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 206.45%.

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Merck & Co., Inc. 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. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services and Alliances. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.

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

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