Ropes Wealth Advisors LLC Decreases Stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

Ropes Wealth Advisors LLC lowered its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 4.2% in the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 40,337 shares of the company’s stock after selling 1,781 shares during the quarter. Ropes Wealth Advisors LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $3,382,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Other hedge funds have also bought and sold shares of the company. Gantzert Investment Co. LLC ADV acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter worth approximately $2,373,000. Buckingham Capital Management Inc. grew its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 4.8% in the fourth quarter. Buckingham Capital Management Inc. now owns 69,479 shares of the company’s stock valued at $5,309,000 after buying an additional 3,177 shares in the last quarter. Stevens First Principles Investment Advisors boosted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 29.9% during the fourth quarter. Stevens First Principles Investment Advisors now owns 3,329 shares of the company’s stock worth $254,000 after purchasing an additional 767 shares during the period. IMS Capital Management boosted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 27.1% during the fourth quarter. IMS Capital Management now owns 14,194 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,085,000 after purchasing an additional 3,029 shares during the period. Finally, LexAurum Advisors LLC boosted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.9% during the fourth quarter. LexAurum Advisors LLC now owns 6,663 shares of the company’s stock worth $509,000 after purchasing an additional 186 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 75.34% of the company’s stock.

A number of research firms have commented on MRK. Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $95.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Wednesday, August 7th. Morgan Stanley lifted their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $84.00 to $90.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, June 21st. Atlantic Securities raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating in a research report on Monday, May 13th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Argus lifted their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. to $105.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 7th. Finally, Citigroup lifted their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $84.00 to $95.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, June 21st. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fifteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $91.07.

In related news, EVP Richard R. Deluca sold 6,427 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $85.09, for a total value of $546,873.43. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 103,223 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $8,783,245.07. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CFO Robert M. Davis sold 216,718 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, June 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.43, for a total value of $18,514,218.74. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 354,378 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $30,274,512.54. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.27% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Shares of MRK traded down $0.86 during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $84.88. 2,665,950 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 10,840,713. Merck & Co., Inc. has a twelve month low of $66.10 and a twelve month high of $87.07. The company has a current ratio of 1.21, a quick ratio of 0.92 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82. The stock has a market capitalization of $218.96 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.56, a P/E/G ratio of 1.74 and a beta of 0.56. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $83.39.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, July 30th. The company reported $1.30 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.16 by $0.14. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 43.34% and a net margin of 21.10%. The company had revenue of $11.76 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.94 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $1.06 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 12.4% on a year-over-year basis. Research analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.91 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 7th. Stockholders of record on Monday, September 16th will be issued a dividend of $0.55 per share. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.59%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, September 13th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 50.69%.

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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