Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Stake Lessened by Stanley Laman Group Ltd.

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Stanley Laman Group Ltd. lessened its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 3.1% in the 4th quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 15,037 shares of the company’s stock after selling 489 shares during the quarter. Stanley Laman Group Ltd.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $1,149,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Several other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently bought and sold shares of MRK. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 186.4% during the 4th quarter. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. now owns 653 shares of the company’s stock valued at $50,000 after purchasing an additional 425 shares during the last quarter. Arlington Partners LLC increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 93.5% during the 4th quarter. Arlington Partners LLC now owns 828 shares of the company’s stock valued at $63,000 after purchasing an additional 400 shares during the last quarter. Advisors Preferred LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter valued at about $66,000. Financial Gravity Companies Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter valued at about $66,000. Finally, Essex Investment Management Co. LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter valued at about $95,000. 73.46% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Several equities research analysts have recently commented on the stock. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $93.00 price target for the company in a research report on Monday, April 1st. Cantor Fitzgerald reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $95.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Friday, March 29th. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, February 19th. Argus boosted their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. to $95.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 20th. Finally, Morgan Stanley set a $81.00 price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, December 20th. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $77.83.

In other news, CEO Kenneth C. Frazier sold 92,913 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $80.03, for a total transaction of $7,435,827.39. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 784,863 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $62,812,585.89. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. acquired 4,121,683 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, April 8th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $16.00 per share, for a total transaction of $65,946,928.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 1,094,632 shares of company stock valued at $87,840,652 over the last 90 days. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

MRK stock opened at $77.56 on Wednesday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $56.26 and a 1-year high of $83.85. The company has a quick ratio of 0.92, a current ratio of 1.17 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.74. The company has a market capitalization of $209.12 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.87, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.91 and a beta of 0.63.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Friday, February 1st. The company reported $1.04 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.01. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 36.83% and a net margin of 14.71%. The business had revenue of $11 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.93 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.98 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.4% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, sell-side analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.65 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, April 5th. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 15th were paid a $0.55 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, March 14th. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.84%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 50.69%.

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Merck & Co., Inc. 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.

Further Reading: How are institutional investors different from individual investors?

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

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