Gratus Capital LLC Sells 1,280 Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

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Gratus Capital LLC cut its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 16.7% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The fund owned 6,398 shares of the company’s stock after selling 1,280 shares during the period. Gratus Capital LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $388,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds have also bought and sold shares of the stock. Advisors Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the second quarter worth about $5,697,000. Alphinity Investment Management Pty Ltd boosted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 21.2% during the second quarter. Alphinity Investment Management Pty Ltd now owns 394,009 shares of the company’s stock worth $23,916,000 after acquiring an additional 69,052 shares during the last quarter. Captrust Financial Advisors boosted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.7% during the second quarter. Captrust Financial Advisors now owns 92,347 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,650,000 after acquiring an additional 14,521 shares during the last quarter. Korea Investment CORP boosted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.5% during the second quarter. Korea Investment CORP now owns 2,328,153 shares of the company’s stock worth $141,319,000 after acquiring an additional 12,000 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Commonwealth Bank of Australia boosted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 15.9% during the second quarter. Commonwealth Bank of Australia now owns 314,368 shares of the company’s stock worth $19,076,000 after acquiring an additional 43,112 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.18% of the company’s stock.

NYSE:MRK opened at $69.81 on Friday. The company has a current ratio of 1.33, a quick ratio of 1.04 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61. The stock has a market capitalization of $191.27 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.54, a PEG ratio of 2.22 and a beta of 0.81. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $52.83 and a 1-year high of $72.89.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 27th. The company reported $1.06 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.03. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 3.67% and a return on equity of 32.68%. The firm had revenue of $10.47 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.28 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $1.01 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.4% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.27 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 5th. Stockholders of record on Monday, September 17th were issued a $0.48 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Friday, September 14th. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.75%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 48.24%.

In other news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 228,091 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.00, for a total value of $14,825,915.00. Following the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 938,788 shares in the company, valued at approximately $61,021,220. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, VP Rita A. Karachun sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.01, for a total transaction of $325,050.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 929,360 shares of company stock worth $64,370,599. Company insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

Several equities analysts have weighed in on MRK shares. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, June 18th. Jefferies Financial Group reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $59.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Sunday, July 15th. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $70.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Sunday, July 22nd. Bank of America boosted their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $74.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, July 30th. Finally, SunTrust Banks reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $77.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Thursday, August 16th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fifteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co., Inc. has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $69.61.

Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates in four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, asthma, nasal allergy symptoms, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, fungal, intra-abdominal infections, hypertension, arthritis and pain, inflammatory, osteoporosis, and fertility diseases.

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

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