Cypress Capital Group cut its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 4.0% in the 3rd quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The firm owned 61,078 shares of the company’s stock after selling 2,520 shares during the period. Cypress Capital Group’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $3,911,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other hedge funds have also added to or reduced their stakes in MRK. Perennial Advisors LLC lifted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.7% in the 2nd quarter. Perennial Advisors LLC now owns 1,626 shares of the company’s stock valued at $104,000 after acquiring an additional 157 shares in the last quarter. Stelac Advisory Services LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $104,000. NewSquare Capital LLC lifted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 728.3% in the 3rd quarter. NewSquare Capital LLC now owns 14,801 shares of the company’s stock valued at $115,000 after acquiring an additional 13,014 shares in the last quarter. Solaris Asset Management LLC lifted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 6.3% in the 2nd quarter. Solaris Asset Management LLC now owns 1,940 shares of the company’s stock valued at $124,000 after acquiring an additional 115 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Balentine LLC lifted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.0% in the 2nd quarter. Balentine LLC now owns 2,107 shares of the company’s stock valued at $135,000 after acquiring an additional 20 shares in the last quarter. 73.24% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

In other news, Director Wendell P. Weeks sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, February 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $53.57, for a total transaction of $267,850.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 5,100 shares in the company, valued at approximately $273,207. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of the stock in a transaction 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 disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 82,500 shares of company stock valued at $5,026,025. Insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.

MRK has been the subject of several research analyst reports. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $70.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Sunday, October 29th. BMO Capital Markets set a $70.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 18th. Citigroup upgraded shares of 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. UBS Group reduced their price target on shares of 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. Finally, Sanford C. Bernstein restated a “buy” rating and issued a $64.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Wednesday, November 15th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and ten have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $66.88.

Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) opened at $54.87 on Monday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12-month low of $53.36 and a 12-month high of $66.80. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57, a current ratio of 1.43 and a quick ratio of 1.16. The stock has a market cap of $149,490.00, a P/E ratio of 59.00, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.46 and a beta of 0.75.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its earnings results on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.94 by $0.04. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 6.40% and a return on equity of 27.73%. The company had revenue of $10.43 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.48 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.89 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 3.1% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.15 earnings per share for the current year.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its Board of Directors has approved 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 reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are generally an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

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

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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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