4,403 Shares in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) Purchased by Argus Investors Counsel Inc.

Argus Investors Counsel Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) in the 3rd quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The institutional investor purchased 4,403 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $371,000.

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.8% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 209,505,775 shares of the company’s stock worth $17,567,058,000 after buying an additional 1,694,360 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. grew its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.3% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 191,863,408 shares of the company’s stock worth $16,087,745,000 after buying an additional 4,397,580 shares during the period. Janus Henderson Group PLC grew its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 7.8% during the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 24,839,949 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,082,840,000 after buying an additional 1,790,405 shares during the period. Nuveen Asset Management LLC grew its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 6,517.4% during the second quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 24,307,332 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,038,169,000 after buying an additional 23,940,007 shares during the period. Finally, Invesco Ltd. grew its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.4% during the second quarter. Invesco Ltd. now owns 18,309,138 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,535,222,000 after buying an additional 2,843,458 shares during the period. 74.99% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Several research analysts have weighed in on MRK shares. ValuEngine lowered shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 2nd. Argus upped their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. to $105.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 7th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $96.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 10th. Credit Suisse Group restated a “buy” rating and set a $95.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Wednesday, August 7th. Finally, Leerink Swann started coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Thursday, August 15th. They set an “outperform” rating and a $103.00 target price on the stock. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and fifteen have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $94.00.

In other news, EVP Richard R. Deluca sold 6,427 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.09, for a total value of $546,873.43. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 103,223 shares in the company, valued at $8,783,245.07. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 0.27% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

MRK stock opened at $84.68 on Friday. The company’s 50 day simple moving average is $84.37 and its 200-day simple moving average is $82.31. The firm has a market capitalization of $217.73 billion, a PE ratio of 19.51, a P/E/G ratio of 2.17 and a beta of 0.53. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12 month low of $66.10 and a 12 month high of $87.35. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82, a current ratio of 1.21 and a quick ratio of 0.92.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 30th. The company reported $1.30 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.16 by $0.14. The business had revenue of $11.76 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.94 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 21.10% and a return on equity of 43.34%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 12.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $1.06 earnings per share. As a group, sell-side analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.91 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, October 7th. Stockholders of record on Monday, September 16th were given a $0.55 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Friday, September 13th. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.60%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 50.69%.

Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile

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

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