Forte Capital LLC ADV cut its position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 6.1% in the third quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The institutional investor owned 29,003 shares of the company’s stock after selling 1,897 shares during the period. Forte Capital LLC ADV’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $2,057,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently modified their holdings of the company. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC grew its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 86.5% during the 3rd quarter. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 1,656 shares of the company’s stock worth $117,000 after purchasing an additional 768 shares in the last quarter. Taylor Wealth Management Partners acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth $110,000. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV grew its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 155.2% during the 2nd quarter. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV now owns 1,832 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after purchasing an additional 1,114 shares in the last quarter. Acropolis Investment Management LLC acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 3rd quarter worth $140,000. Finally, Atlantic Trust LLC acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth $127,000. 72.32% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Several research analysts recently commented on the company. Citigroup boosted their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $79.00 to $84.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 31st. SunTrust Banks boosted their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $77.00 to $80.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, October 29th. Wolfe Research assumed coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, October 23rd. They set an “outperform” rating for the company. BMO Capital Markets boosted their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $82.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Monday, October 22nd. Finally, ValuEngine raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, October 18th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $71.92.

Shares of NYSE MRK opened at $74.86 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of $202.43 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.81, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.04 and a beta of 0.73. The company has a quick ratio of 1.04, a current ratio of 1.44 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1 year low of $52.83 and a 1 year high of $75.99.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. The company had revenue of $10.79 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.87 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 34.48% and a net margin of 8.44%. On average, equities research analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 17th will be issued a dividend of $0.55 per share. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.94%. This is an increase from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 48.24%.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a share buyback program on Thursday, October 25th that allows the company to buyback $10.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to purchase up to 5.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are often a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, insider Roger M. Perlmutter sold 225,443 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.27, for a total transaction of $16,969,094.61. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 366,998 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $27,623,939.46. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 107,360 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction dated Monday, September 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $70.18, for a total value of $7,534,524.80. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 100,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $7,018,000. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 1,279,104 shares of company stock valued at $92,845,846 over the last ninety days. 0.32% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

ILLEGAL ACTIVITY WARNING: This news story was reported by TheOlympiaReport and is the sole property of of TheOlympiaReport. If you are viewing this news story on another site, it was illegally copied and reposted in violation of U.S. and international trademark and copyright legislation. The correct version of this news story can be accessed at https://theolympiareport.com/2018/11/11/forte-capital-llc-adv-reduces-stake-in-merck-co-inc-mrk.html.

About Merck & Co., Inc.

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.

Read More: Market Capitalization

Want to see what other hedge funds are holding MRK? Visit HoldingsChannel.com to get the latest 13F filings and insider trades for Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK).

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

Receive News & Ratings for Merck & Co. Inc. Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Merck & Co. Inc. and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.