Fort Pitt Capital Group LLC lifted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 15.9% in the third quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the SEC. The firm owned 25,563 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 3,502 shares during the quarter. Fort Pitt Capital Group LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $1,637,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other institutional investors also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Hanson McClain Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 65.0% during the 2nd quarter. Hanson McClain Inc. now owns 7,662 shares of the company’s stock worth $491,000 after acquiring an additional 3,019 shares during the last quarter. Fort Washington Investment Advisors Inc. OH lifted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 133.4% during the 1st quarter. Fort Washington Investment Advisors Inc. OH now owns 144,247 shares of the company’s stock worth $9,165,000 after acquiring an additional 82,454 shares during the last quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. lifted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.6% during the 2nd quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. now owns 4,206,648 shares of the company’s stock worth $269,678,000 after acquiring an additional 107,201 shares during the last quarter. Meag Munich Ergo Kapitalanlagegesellschaft MBH lifted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 41.9% during the 2nd quarter. Meag Munich Ergo Kapitalanlagegesellschaft MBH now owns 296,294 shares of the company’s stock worth $19,028,000 after acquiring an additional 87,443 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Stevens Capital Management LP bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 1st quarter worth approximately $15,126,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.63% of the company’s stock.

In related news, Director Thomas H. Glocer sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $56.20, for a total transaction of $281,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 0.25% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE MRK) opened at $56.34 on Thursday. The company has a market capitalization of $153,660.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 54.70, a PEG ratio of 2.91 and a beta of 0.76. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57, a current ratio of 1.43 and a quick ratio of 1.16. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1 year low of $53.63 and a 1 year high of $66.80.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Friday, October 27th. The company reported $1.11 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.08. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 27.08% and a net margin of 11.60%. The firm had revenue of $10.33 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.54 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $1.07 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 2.0% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 3.95 earnings per share for the current year.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock buyback program on Tuesday, November 28th that allows the company to buyback $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are generally an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, January 8th. Investors of record on Friday, December 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.48 per share. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.41%. This is an increase from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.47. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, December 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 186.41%.

A number of equities research analysts have weighed in on the company. Barclays lowered Merck & Co., Inc. from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and decreased their target price for the company from $72.00 to $62.00 in a research report on Monday, October 30th. UBS Group decreased their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $72.00 to $67.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research report on Monday, October 30th. BMO Capital Markets set a $70.00 target price on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 11th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $70.00 target price on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Sunday, October 29th. Finally, Leerink Swann decreased their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $69.00 and set a “market perform” rating for the company in a research report on Monday, October 30th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $66.29.

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Merck & Co., Inc. Profile

Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services and Alliances. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.

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

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