First Manhattan Co. Sells 3,153 Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

First Manhattan Co. cut its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.6% during the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 196,832 shares of the company’s stock after selling 3,153 shares during the period. First Manhattan Co.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $15,040,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Focused Wealth Management Inc boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 71.1% in the fourth quarter. Focused Wealth Management Inc now owns 9,393 shares of the company’s stock valued at $718,000 after acquiring an additional 3,904 shares in the last quarter. San Francisco Sentry Investment Group CA boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.7% in the fourth quarter. San Francisco Sentry Investment Group CA now owns 24,447 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,868,000 after acquiring an additional 170 shares in the last quarter. Crossvault Capital Management LLC acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $574,000. MAI Capital Management boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 9.5% in the fourth quarter. MAI Capital Management now owns 84,872 shares of the company’s stock valued at $6,485,000 after acquiring an additional 7,383 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Community Bank N.A. boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.5% in the fourth quarter. Community Bank N.A. now owns 100,828 shares of the company’s stock valued at $7,703,000 after acquiring an additional 2,492 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.55% of the company’s stock.

NYSE MRK opened at $81.57 on Friday. The firm has a market capitalization of $219.71 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.79, a P/E/G ratio of 1.99 and a beta of 0.62. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12-month low of $52.83 and a 12-month high of $82.12. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.74, a current ratio of 1.17 and a quick ratio of 0.92.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Friday, February 1st. The company reported $1.04 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $11 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.93 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 14.71% and a return on equity of 36.83%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 5.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.98 earnings per share. As a group, equities analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.65 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 5th. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 15th will be issued a $0.55 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, March 14th. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.70%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 50.69%.

In related news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 18,725 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, March 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $82.00, for a total transaction of $1,535,450.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now owns 816,440 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $66,948,080. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Wendell P. Weeks sold 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, February 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $78.71, for a total transaction of $393,550.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 5,100 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $401,421. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders sold 709,324 shares of company stock valued at $56,162,582. Corporate insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

Several equities research analysts have weighed in on the stock. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, January 24th. BMO Capital Markets restated a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, February 19th. Credit Suisse Group set a $86.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, December 13th. Citigroup set a $65.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, December 20th. Finally, Cantor Fitzgerald reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $95.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Monday, March 4th. Six investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $77.06.

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Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile

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