Triangle Securities Wealth Management reduced its position in shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 6.7% during the third quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 26,590 shares of the company’s stock after selling 1,915 shares during the period. Triangle Securities Wealth Management’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $1,659,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

A number of other institutional investors also recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Cypress Capital Group raised its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 25.7% in the first quarter. Cypress Capital Group now owns 29,697 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,571,000 after buying an additional 6,075 shares in the last quarter. Clear Harbor Asset Management LLC raised its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 93.2% in the first quarter. Clear Harbor Asset Management LLC now owns 85,740 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,537,000 after buying an additional 41,370 shares in the last quarter. One Capital Management LLC raised its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 4.7% in the first quarter. One Capital Management LLC now owns 44,272 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,342,000 after buying an additional 1,983 shares in the last quarter. Oak Associates Ltd. OH raised its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 1.3% in the first quarter. Oak Associates Ltd. OH now owns 55,800 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,952,000 after buying an additional 700 shares in the last quarter. Finally, First Republic Investment Management Inc. raised its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 27.8% in the first quarter. First Republic Investment Management Inc. now owns 642,313 shares of the company’s stock worth $33,983,000 after buying an additional 139,749 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.55% of the company’s stock.

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

Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded up 0.63% during trading on Tuesday, reaching $62.19. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 10,034,927 shares. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $61.54 and its 200 day moving average price is $60.20. Merck & Co. has a 52 week low of $47.97 and a 52 week high of $65.46. The company has a market cap of $171.47 billion, a PE ratio of 31.76 and a beta of 0.76.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 25th. The company reported $1.07 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.99 by $0.08. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 24.25% and a net margin of 13.76%. The business earned $10.50 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.17 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.96 EPS. Merck & Co.’s quarterly revenue was up 4.6% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts predict that Merck & Co. will post $3.78 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, January 9th. Investors of record on Thursday, December 15th will be given a $0.47 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, December 13th. This is a positive change from Merck & Co.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.46. This represents a $1.88 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.02%. Merck & Co.’s payout ratio is currently 93.88%.

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MRK has been the subject of a number of recent analyst reports. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “market perform” rating and issued a $62.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Tuesday, August 2nd. Credit Suisse Group AG upgraded shares of Merck & Co. from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating and raised their price objective for the company from $62.00 to $73.00 in a research report on Sunday, August 7th. Jefferies Group raised their price objective on shares of Merck & Co. from $53.00 to $57.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, August 8th. Deutsche Bank AG raised their price objective on shares of Merck & Co. from $58.00 to $59.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, August 8th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Cos. restated a “neutral” rating and set a $62.00 price objective (up previously from $58.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Monday, August 8th. Thirteen equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co. has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $66.24.

In related news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 140,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.03, for a total value of $9,104,200.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 514,957 shares in the company, valued at approximately $33,487,653.71. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 39,200 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, September 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $62.61, for a total value of $2,454,312.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 39,200 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,454,312. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.05% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

About Merck & Co.

Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, which it markets directly and through its joint ventures. It operates through one segment, Pharmaceutical. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:MRK

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