Comerica Bank Sells 170,503 Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

Comerica Bank decreased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 13.3% in the third quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 1,114,140 shares of the company’s stock after selling 170,503 shares during the period. Merck & Co., Inc. makes up approximately 0.6% of Comerica Bank’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 20th largest position. Comerica Bank’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $80,330,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

A number of other hedge funds have also added to or reduced their stakes in MRK. Taylor Wealth Management Partners acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $110,000. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC increased its holdings in shares of 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 buying an additional 768 shares during the last quarter. WESPAC Advisors SoCal LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $118,000. Atlantic Trust LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $127,000. Finally, Squar Milner Financial Services LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $133,000. Institutional investors own 72.72% of the company’s stock.

NYSE:MRK opened at $76.72 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a current ratio of 1.44 and a quick ratio of 1.15. The company has a market cap of $210.87 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.28, a P/E/G ratio of 2.13 and a beta of 0.71. Merck & Co., Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $52.83 and a fifty-two week high of $80.19.

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, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. The firm had revenue of $10.79 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.87 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 8.44% and a return on equity of 34.48%. As a group, equities analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 EPS for the current year.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock buyback plan on Thursday, October 25th that allows the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to reacquire up to 5.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are generally a sign that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Investors of record on Monday, December 17th will be given a dividend of $0.55 per share. The ex-dividend date is Friday, December 14th. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.87%. This is a boost from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 48.24%.

In related news, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. acquired 666,666 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 1st. The stock was purchased at an average price of $15.00 per share, with a total value of $9,999,990.00. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, SVP Ashley Watson sold 47,036 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, October 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $74.33, for a total transaction of $3,496,185.88. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 32,990 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,452,146.70. 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 in the last ninety days. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of analysts have recently issued reports on the stock. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 16th. Citigroup set a $79.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 16th. Wolfe Research assumed coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Tuesday, October 23rd. They set an “outperform” rating for the company. Barclays raised their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $75.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, September 7th. Finally, SunTrust Banks restated a “buy” rating and set a $77.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Thursday, August 16th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $73.65.

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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.

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

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