First American Bank Acquires New Holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

First American Bank acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) during the third quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor acquired 135,807 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $9,634,000.

Other large investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Private Capital Advisors Inc. acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the third quarter valued at approximately $586,000. Stokes & Hubbell Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the third quarter valued at approximately $239,000. Global Trust Asset Management LLC grew its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 34.6% during the third quarter. Global Trust Asset Management LLC now owns 12,027 shares of the company’s stock valued at $853,000 after purchasing an additional 3,094 shares during the last quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC grew its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 8.6% during the third quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC now owns 42,637 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,024,000 after purchasing an additional 3,372 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Nisa Investment Advisors LLC grew its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.9% during the third quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC now owns 1,112,496 shares of the company’s stock valued at $78,920,000 after purchasing an additional 10,060 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.32% of the company’s stock.

Several equities analysts have commented on MRK shares. Citigroup set a $79.00 price target on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 16th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $79.00 price target on the stock in a report on Wednesday, September 26th. Guggenheim started coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Monday, October 8th. They set a “buy” rating on the stock. Morgan Stanley set a $74.00 price target on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, August 23rd. Finally, SunTrust Banks reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $77.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Thursday, August 16th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have given a buy rating to the company. Merck & Co., Inc. has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $71.92.

In other news, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. bought 666,666 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 1st. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $15.00 per share, with a total value of $9,999,990.00. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Richard R. Deluca sold 25,467 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, October 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $72.00, for a total value of $1,833,624.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 82,135 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $5,913,720. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 1,279,104 shares of company stock valued at $92,845,846 over the last three months. 0.32% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

MRK opened at $74.86 on Friday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $52.83 and a 1-year high of $75.99. 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 company has a market capitalization of $197.66 billion, a PE ratio of 18.81, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.99 and a beta of 0.73.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 34.20% and a net margin of 8.44%. The company had revenue of $10.79 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.87 billion. As a group, sell-side analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Stockholders of record on Monday, December 17th will be given a $0.55 dividend. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.94%. This is a boost from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. The ex-dividend date is Friday, December 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 48.24%.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase program on Thursday, October 25th that permits the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to purchase up to 5.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are typically an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

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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.

See Also: Rule of 72

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

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