Regentatlantic Capital LLC raised its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 7.1% in the third quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 86,111 shares of the company’s stock after acquiring an additional 5,702 shares during the quarter. Regentatlantic Capital LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $5,514,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other institutional investors have also recently made changes to their positions in MRK. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.7% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 194,144,317 shares of the company’s stock valued at $12,442,709,000 after acquiring an additional 3,312,459 shares during the last quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership grew its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 71.5% in the second quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership now owns 6,281,855 shares of the company’s stock valued at $402,604,000 after purchasing an additional 2,618,435 shares in the last quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. grew its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 40.4% in the second quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 8,012,726 shares of the company’s stock valued at $513,535,000 after purchasing an additional 2,304,142 shares in the last quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC grew its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 36.3% in the second quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 7,766,906 shares of the company’s stock valued at $497,774,000 after purchasing an additional 2,070,487 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Janus Henderson Group PLC grew its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 509.6% in the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 2,462,318 shares of the company’s stock valued at $157,812,000 after purchasing an additional 2,058,407 shares in the last quarter. 73.63% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

In other news, Director Thomas H. Glocer sold 5,000 shares of the firm’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 transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Company insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.

A number of equities research analysts have recently issued reports on MRK shares. Credit Suisse Group dropped their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $75.00 to $74.00 and set an “outperform” rating for the company in a research report on Wednesday, August 30th. Cowen restated a “hold” rating and issued a $70.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Friday, September 1st. BMO Capital Markets restated a “buy” rating and issued a $72.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Friday, September 8th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 11th. Finally, Citigroup upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 price target for the company in a research report on Wednesday, October 18th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $66.29.

Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) opened at $56.34 on Thursday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52-week low of $53.63 and a 52-week high of $66.80. 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 quick ratio of 1.16 and a current ratio of 1.43.

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 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 business had revenue of $10.33 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.54 billion. During the same period last year, the business posted $1.07 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 2.0% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 3.95 EPS for the current year.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its board has approved a stock repurchase program on Tuesday, November 28th that permits the company to buyback $10.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization permits the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, January 8th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 15th will be given a dividend of $0.48 per share. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.47. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.41%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 186.41%.

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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.

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

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