Monarch Capital Management Inc. cut its position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 0.7% in the 4th quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 144,638 shares of the company’s stock after selling 965 shares during the quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. comprises approximately 4.5% of Monarch Capital Management Inc.’s holdings, making the stock its biggest position. Monarch Capital Management Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $11,052,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Other large investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. boosted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 186.4% during the fourth quarter. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. now owns 653 shares of the company’s stock worth $50,000 after purchasing an additional 425 shares during the period. Arlington Partners LLC boosted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 93.5% during the fourth quarter. Arlington Partners LLC now owns 828 shares of the company’s stock worth $63,000 after purchasing an additional 400 shares during the period. Advisors Preferred LLC bought a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the fourth quarter worth $66,000. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC boosted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 86.5% during the third quarter. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 1,656 shares of the company’s stock worth $117,000 after purchasing an additional 768 shares during the period. Finally, WESPAC Advisors SoCal LLC bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the third quarter valued at about $118,000. 72.43% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
MRK stock opened at $79.83 on Friday. The stock has a market capitalization of $214.16 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.39, a P/E/G ratio of 1.94 and a beta of 0.62. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52 week low of $52.83 and a 52 week high of $80.19. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a current ratio of 1.44 and a quick ratio of 1.15.
The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 5th. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.55 per share. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.76%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 50.69%.
Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock buyback program on Thursday, October 25th that allows the company to buyback $10.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to reacquire up to 5.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are typically an indication that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.
MRK has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. Morgan Stanley set a $81.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, December 20th. Credit Suisse Group set a $86.00 price target on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, December 13th. Citigroup boosted their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $79.00 to $84.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 31st. SunTrust Banks boosted their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $77.00 to $80.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, October 29th. Finally, Argus boosted their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. to $95.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday. Six investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $75.57.
In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, Director Thomas H. Glocer sold 10,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, February 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.96, for a total transaction of $759,600.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Director Leslie A. Brun sold 3,052 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $77.22, for a total value of $235,675.44. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 5,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $386,100. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 616,533 shares of company stock valued at $48,660,563. Insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.
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About Merck & Co., Inc.
Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates in four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic agents to treat cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, asthma, nasal allergy, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, fungal, intra-abdominal, hypertension, arthritis and pain, inflammatory, osteoporosis, and fertility diseases.
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