Capital Wealth Planning LLC decreased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 98.2% during the 3rd quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 8,000 shares of the company’s stock after selling 441,273 shares during the period. Capital Wealth Planning LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $512,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Honeywell International Inc. lifted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.8% during the 3rd quarter. Honeywell International Inc. now owns 633,700 shares of the company’s stock worth $40,576,000 after acquiring an additional 100,500 shares in the last quarter. Hanson McClain Inc. raised its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 65.0% in the 2nd quarter. Hanson McClain Inc. now owns 7,662 shares of the company’s stock valued at $491,000 after purchasing an additional 3,019 shares in the last quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. raised its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.3% in the 3rd quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 524,481 shares of the company’s stock valued at $33,582,000 after purchasing an additional 81,290 shares in the last quarter. Hartland & Co. LLC raised its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 9.5% in the 2nd quarter. Hartland & Co. LLC now owns 44,558 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,856,000 after purchasing an additional 3,861 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Crescent Grove Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter valued at about $1,092,000. 73.24% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

MRK has been the topic of a number of analyst reports. Cowen reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $70.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Friday, November 3rd. BMO Capital Markets set a $68.00 price target on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, December 13th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $70.00 price target on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Sunday, October 29th. ValuEngine raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 10th. Finally, Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “sell” rating and issued a $55.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Friday, October 20th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and ten have given a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $66.88.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE MRK) opened at $54.87 on Friday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $53.36 and a 1-year high of $66.80. The company has a market capitalization of $149,490.00, a PE ratio of 59.00, a PEG ratio of 2.46 and a beta of 0.75. 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. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings data on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.94 by $0.04. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 27.73% and a net margin of 6.40%. The business had revenue of $10.43 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.48 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.89 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.15 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 6th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, March 15th will be issued a $0.48 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, March 14th. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.50%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is currently 206.45%.

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

In related news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, January 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total transaction of $3,697,800.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 101,484 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,254,458.92. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, Director Wendell P. Weeks sold 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.57, for a total value of $267,850.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 5,100 shares in the company, valued at approximately $273,207. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 82,500 shares of company stock worth $5,026,025. Company insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.

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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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