Gratus Capital LLC lessened its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 16.7% in the 2nd quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 6,398 shares of the company’s stock after selling 1,280 shares during the period. Gratus Capital LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $388,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Several other institutional investors have also modified their holdings of MRK. Franklin Resources Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 13.6% during the first quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 49,101,614 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,674,552,000 after purchasing an additional 5,880,457 shares during the last quarter. Bank of Montreal Can purchased a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the second quarter worth $232,626,000. Janus Henderson Group PLC raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 41.8% during the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 12,486,915 shares of the company’s stock worth $757,959,000 after purchasing an additional 3,682,328 shares during the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 9.2% during the second quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 38,653,047 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,346,241,000 after purchasing an additional 3,242,430 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Investec Asset Management LTD raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 4,320.3% during the second quarter. Investec Asset Management LTD now owns 3,096,008 shares of the company’s stock worth $187,928,000 after purchasing an additional 3,025,967 shares during the last quarter. 72.18% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Several research analysts recently issued reports on the stock. BMO Capital Markets reissued a “buy” rating and set a $70.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Sunday, July 22nd. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $79.00 price objective for the company in a report on Wednesday, September 26th. Jefferies Financial Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $59.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Sunday, July 15th. Bank of America lifted their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $74.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, July 30th. Finally, Morgan Stanley set a $74.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, August 23rd. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fifteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co., Inc. has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $69.61.

MRK opened at $69.81 on Friday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $52.83 and a fifty-two week high of $72.89. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a current ratio of 1.33 and a quick ratio of 1.04. The firm has a market capitalization of $191.27 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.54, a PEG ratio of 2.22 and a beta of 0.81.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its earnings results on Friday, July 27th. The company reported $1.06 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.03 by $0.03. The business had revenue of $10.47 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.28 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 3.67% and a return on equity of 32.68%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 5.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $1.01 earnings per share. As a group, equities analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.27 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 5th. Stockholders of record on Monday, September 17th were paid a dividend of $0.48 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, September 14th. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.75%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 48.24%.

In related news, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. bought 666,666 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 1st. The stock was acquired at an average price of $15.00 per share, with a total value of $9,999,990.00. The purchase was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 279,850 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, October 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $72.07, for a total transaction of $20,168,789.50. Following the sale, the chairman now directly owns 971,800 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $70,037,626. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 929,360 shares of company stock valued at $64,370,599 in the last three months. Corporate insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

Merck & Co., Inc. Profile

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates in four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, asthma, nasal allergy symptoms, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, fungal, intra-abdominal infections, hypertension, arthritis and pain, inflammatory, osteoporosis, and fertility diseases.

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

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