Braun Stacey Associates Inc. Reduces Position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

Braun Stacey Associates Inc. trimmed its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRKFree Report) by 2.5% in the 4th quarter, Holdings Channel.com reports. The institutional investor owned 215,122 shares of the company’s stock after selling 5,496 shares during the period. Braun Stacey Associates Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $23,453,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other large investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Ascent Wealth Partners LLC boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.5% during the fourth quarter. Ascent Wealth Partners LLC now owns 16,579 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,807,000 after buying an additional 89 shares during the period. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.9% during the fourth quarter. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV now owns 4,811 shares of the company’s stock worth $524,000 after buying an additional 92 shares during the period. Bell Bank boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.0% during the fourth quarter. Bell Bank now owns 9,235 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,007,000 after buying an additional 92 shares during the period. Prosperity Financial Group Inc. boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.9% during the second quarter. Prosperity Financial Group Inc. now owns 3,365 shares of the company’s stock worth $388,000 after buying an additional 95 shares during the period. Finally, Bath Savings Trust Co boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.8% during the fourth quarter. Bath Savings Trust Co now owns 5,539 shares of the company’s stock worth $604,000 after buying an additional 98 shares during the period. 76.07% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Merck & Co., Inc. Stock Up 0.7 %

Merck & Co., Inc. stock opened at $131.27 on Wednesday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $99.14 and a 1-year high of $133.10. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.89, a current ratio of 1.25 and a quick ratio of 1.00. The stock has a market cap of $332.46 billion, a PE ratio of 931.07, a P/E/G ratio of 0.52 and a beta of 0.38. The stock’s fifty day moving average is $125.45 and its two-hundred day moving average is $113.20.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRKGet Free Report) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, February 1st. The company reported $0.03 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of ($0.09) by $0.12. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 9.33% and a net margin of 0.61%. The business had revenue of $14.63 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $14.49 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $1.62 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 5.8% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, sell-side analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 8.59 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Merck & Co., Inc. Announces Dividend

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 5th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 15th will be given a dividend of $0.77 per share. This represents a $3.08 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.35%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, March 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 2,200.00%.

Insider Transactions at Merck & Co., Inc.

In other news, insider Joseph Romanelli sold 1,000 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, February 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $124.89, for a total transaction of $124,890.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 19,569 shares in the company, valued at $2,443,972.41. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. In related news, EVP Steven Mizell sold 50,694 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $126.65, for a total transaction of $6,420,395.10. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 23,619 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,991,346.35. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider Joseph Romanelli sold 1,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, February 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $124.89, for a total value of $124,890.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 19,569 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,443,972.41. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.20% of the company’s stock.

Analysts Set New Price Targets

MRK has been the topic of several analyst reports. UBS Group increased their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $135.00 to $148.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. Societe Generale cut Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $104.00 price objective on the stock. in a research note on Monday, March 11th. Barclays increased their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $135.00 to $145.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. Cantor Fitzgerald reiterated an “overweight” rating and issued a $135.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Wednesday, March 27th. Finally, TD Cowen upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and increased their price objective for the company from $125.00 to $135.00 in a research note on Thursday, January 4th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating, ten have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. According to data from MarketBeat.com, the stock currently has an average rating of “Moderate Buy” and an average target price of $129.71.

Read Our Latest Research Report on Merck & Co., Inc.

About Merck & Co., Inc.

(Free Report)

Merck & Co, Inc operates as a healthcare company worldwide. It operates through two segments, Pharmaceutical and Animal Health. The Pharmaceutical segment offers human health pharmaceutical products in the areas of oncology, hospital acute care, immunology, neuroscience, virology, cardiovascular, and diabetes under the Keytruda, Bridion, Adempas, Lagevrio, Belsomra, Simponi, and Januvia brands, as well as vaccine products consisting of preventive pediatric, adolescent, and adult vaccines under the Gardasil/Gardasil 9, ProQuad, M-M-R II, Varivax, RotaTeq, Live Oral, Vaxneuvance, Pneumovax 23, and Vaqta names.

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

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