Acorn Financial Advisory Services Inc. ADV cut its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.0% during the second quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The firm owned 13,559 shares of the company’s stock after selling 142 shares during the period. Acorn Financial Advisory Services Inc. ADV’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $1,051,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other institutional investors also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Spirit of America Management Corp NY raised its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 21.0% during the second quarter. Spirit of America Management Corp NY now owns 20,200 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,562,000 after purchasing an additional 3,500 shares during the period. Chemung Canal Trust Co. raised its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.4% during the second quarter. Chemung Canal Trust Co. now owns 112,479 shares of the company’s stock valued at $8,699,000 after buying an additional 10,561 shares during the period. Baugh & Associates LLC raised its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 7.5% during the second quarter. Baugh & Associates LLC now owns 51,845 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,009,000 after buying an additional 3,612 shares during the period. Forte Capital LLC ADV raised its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.7% during the second quarter. Forte Capital LLC ADV now owns 25,659 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,984,000 after buying an additional 907 shares during the period. Finally, Everence Capital Management Inc. raised its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.2% during the second quarter. Everence Capital Management Inc. now owns 71,111 shares of the company’s stock valued at $5,740,000 after buying an additional 6,610 shares during the period. 74.33% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

In other news, Director Wendell P. Weeks sold 5,000 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, May 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $76.02, for a total value of $380,100.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 5,100 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $387,702. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Company insiders own 0.28% of the company’s stock.

Several research analysts recently weighed in on MRK shares. Credit Suisse Group reissued a “buy” rating and set a $95.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Monday, May 4th. SVB Leerink dropped their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $98.00 to $95.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, April 29th. Morgan Stanley reissued a “buy” rating and set a $89.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Tuesday, June 23rd. Mizuho reissued a “buy” rating and set a $100.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Tuesday, June 23rd. Finally, Wolfe Research lowered Merck & Co., Inc. from an “outperform” rating to a “peer perform” rating in a research report on Friday, June 12th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $94.15.

Shares of NYSE MRK traded down $0.12 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $76.57. 2,169,267 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 10,205,440. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82, a quick ratio of 0.87 and a current ratio of 1.11. The stock has a market cap of $196.68 billion, a PE ratio of 19.49, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.18 and a beta of 0.48. The company’s fifty day moving average is $78.22 and its two-hundred day moving average is $81.38. Merck & Co., Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $65.25 and a fifty-two week high of $92.64.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, April 28th. The company reported $1.50 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.34 by $0.16. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 52.46% and a net margin of 21.10%. The firm had revenue of $12.06 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $11.46 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $1.22 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 11.5% on a year-over-year basis. Research analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 5.3 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, July 7th. Stockholders of record on Monday, June 15th were given a $0.61 dividend. This represents a $2.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.19%. The ex-dividend date was Friday, June 12th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is 47.01%.

Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, intra-abdominal, fungal infection, insomnia, and inflammatory diseases.

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

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