L & S Advisors Inc Decreases Holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

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L & S Advisors Inc trimmed its position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 11.2% during the second quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the SEC. The fund owned 135,610 shares of the company’s stock after selling 17,170 shares during the period. Merck & Co., Inc. comprises approximately 1.5% of L & S Advisors Inc’s holdings, making the stock its 7th largest holding. L & S Advisors Inc’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $11,371,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently made changes to their positions in the business. Titan Capital Management LLC CA acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter valued at about $25,000. LFA Lugano Financial Advisors SA grew its holdings in shares of 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 acquiring an additional 225 shares in the last quarter. JJJ Advisors Inc. bought a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter valued at about $27,000. Cumberland Partners Ltd bought a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter valued at about $40,000. Finally, Fusion Family Wealth LLC grew its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 268.2% in the 2nd quarter. Fusion Family Wealth LLC now owns 486 shares of the company’s stock valued at $41,000 after acquiring an additional 354 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 75.36% of the company’s stock.

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

Several equities analysts have recently weighed in on the company. Svb Leerink assumed coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Friday, August 16th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $103.00 price objective for the company. Credit Suisse Group restated a “buy” rating and issued a $95.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Wednesday, August 7th. Societe Generale set a $105.00 price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, September 3rd. Citigroup raised their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $84.00 to $95.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, June 21st. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Argus raised their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. to $105.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 7th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eighteen have given a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $93.29.

Merck & Co., Inc. stock opened at $83.13 on Friday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52 week low of $66.10 and a 52 week high of $87.35. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82, a quick ratio of 0.92 and a current ratio of 1.21. The stock has a market capitalization of $209.16 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.15, a PEG ratio of 1.66 and a beta of 0.53. The stock has a 50-day simple moving average of $84.76 and a 200 day simple moving average of $81.88.

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

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 7th. Investors of record on Monday, September 16th will be issued a dividend of $0.55 per share. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.65%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, September 13th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is currently 50.69%.

About Merck & Co., Inc.

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.

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

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