Acorn Financial Advisory Services Inc. ADV boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.1% in the third quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 13,709 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 150 shares during the quarter. Acorn Financial Advisory Services Inc. ADV’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $1,140,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
Other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also modified their holdings of the company. Toth Financial Advisory Corp acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the second quarter worth about $32,000. Lake Point Wealth Management raised its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 159.0% during the first quarter. Lake Point Wealth Management now owns 518 shares of the company’s stock worth $40,000 after acquiring an additional 318 shares in the last quarter. Provident Wealth Management LLC acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the third quarter worth about $43,000. Estate Counselors LLC acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the second quarter worth about $45,000. Finally, Watson Rebecca acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the second quarter worth about $48,000. 73.18% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
Merck & Co., Inc. stock opened at $79.83 on Friday. The stock has a market capitalization of $201.91 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.47, a PEG ratio of 2.10 and a beta of 0.43. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52-week low of $65.25 and a 52-week high of $92.64. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $83.27 and its two-hundred day moving average price is $80.42. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.94, a quick ratio of 1.05 and a current ratio of 1.32.
The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, October 7th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, September 15th were issued a dividend of $0.61 per share. This represents a $2.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.06%. The ex-dividend date was Monday, September 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 47.01%.
In other news, insider Sanat Chattopadhyay sold 10,380 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $83.01, for a total transaction of $861,643.80. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, CFO Robert M. Davis sold 251,273 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $81.03, for a total value of $20,360,651.19. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 422,329 shares in the company, valued at $34,221,318.87. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 280,529 shares of company stock worth $22,761,633 over the last 90 days. Company insiders own 0.28% of the company’s stock.
Several research analysts have recently issued reports on the company. ValuEngine downgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Thursday, October 1st. Berenberg Bank assumed coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, September 29th. They issued a “hold” rating and a $88.00 price objective for the company. Goldman Sachs Group raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their price objective for the company from $91.00 to $105.00 in a research note on Monday, August 3rd. Mizuho reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, September 22nd. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. upped their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $98.00 to $105.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Friday. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $95.08.
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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