Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Shares Bought by Farmers & Merchants Investments Inc.

Farmers & Merchants Investments Inc. boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.8% during the 4th quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 114,725 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 2,000 shares during the period. Farmers & Merchants Investments Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $8,766,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. grew its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 186.4% during the 4th quarter. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. now owns 653 shares of the company’s stock worth $50,000 after purchasing an additional 425 shares in the last quarter. Arlington Partners LLC grew its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 93.5% during the 4th quarter. Arlington Partners LLC now owns 828 shares of the company’s stock worth $63,000 after purchasing an additional 400 shares in the last quarter. Advisors Preferred LLC purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter worth approximately $66,000. WESPAC Advisors SoCal LLC purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $118,000. Finally, Almanack Investment Partners LLC. purchased a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $139,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.43% of the company’s stock.

Shares of NYSE:MRK opened at $81.29 on Friday. The firm has a market cap of $217.37 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.73, a P/E/G ratio of 1.97 and a beta of 0.62. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12-month low of $52.83 and a 12-month high of $81.76. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a current ratio of 1.44 and a quick ratio of 1.15.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its earnings results on Friday, February 1st. The company reported $1.04 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.03 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $11 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.93 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 14.71% and a return on equity of 35.10%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.98 EPS. Equities analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.66 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 5th. Investors of record on Friday, March 15th will be paid a $0.55 dividend. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.71%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, March 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is presently 50.69%.

In related news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 135,613 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction on Tuesday, February 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $80.03, for a total value of $10,853,108.39. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now owns 784,863 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $62,812,585.89. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 231,566 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction on Tuesday, February 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.08, for a total transaction of $18,080,673.28. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now directly owns 923,516 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $72,108,129.28. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders sold 670,494 shares of company stock valued at $52,978,522. 0.32% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several equities analysts have weighed in on the stock. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $83.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Friday, January 4th. Cantor Fitzgerald began coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Friday, February 22nd. They set an “overweight” rating and a $95.00 target price for the company. BMO Capital Markets reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, February 19th. Credit Suisse Group set a $86.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, December 13th. Finally, Argus lifted their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. to $95.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 20th. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $77.06.

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

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