Trust Co. of Vermont boosted its position in Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 2.9% during the third quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 85,784 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 2,448 shares during the period. Trust Co. of Vermont’s holdings in Merck & Company were worth $5,354,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.
Other institutional investors have also recently made changes to their positions in the company. QCI Asset Management Inc. NY boosted its stake in Merck & Company by 1.1% in the second quarter. QCI Asset Management Inc. NY now owns 2,382 shares of the company’s stock worth $137,000 after buying an additional 27 shares during the last quarter. Bangor Savings Bank boosted its stake in Merck & Company by 0.4% in the third quarter. Bangor Savings Bank now owns 10,116 shares of the company’s stock worth $632,000 after buying an additional 39 shares during the last quarter. Annex Advisory Services LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Company by 0.4% in the second quarter. Annex Advisory Services LLC now owns 12,081 shares of the company’s stock worth $696,000 after buying an additional 43 shares during the last quarter. Landmark Financial Advisors LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Company by 0.7% in the second quarter. Landmark Financial Advisors LLC now owns 6,393 shares of the company’s stock worth $368,000 after buying an additional 43 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Jackson Grant Investment Advisers Inc. boosted its stake in Merck & Company by 0.8% in the second quarter. Jackson Grant Investment Advisers Inc. now owns 5,234 shares of the company’s stock worth $302,000 after buying an additional 44 shares during the last quarter. 72.43% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) traded up 1.75% during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $60.97. 20,925,039 shares of the stock traded hands. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $60.71 and its 200-day moving average price is $61.12. The stock has a market cap of $168.10 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 31.14 and a beta of 0.77. Merck & Company, Inc. has a 1-year low of $47.97 and a 1-year high of $65.46.
Merck & Company (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 25th. The company reported $1.07 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.99 by $0.08. Merck & Company had a net margin of 13.76% and a return on equity of 24.25%. The company had revenue of $10.50 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.17 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.96 EPS. Merck & Company’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.6% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts predict that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.79 earnings per share for the current year.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, January 9th. Investors of record on Thursday, December 15th were given a dividend of $0.47 per share. This represents a $1.88 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.14%. This is an increase from Merck & Company’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.46. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, December 13th. Merck & Company’s dividend payout ratio is 95.92%.
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A number of equities research analysts have commented on MRK shares. Argus restated a “buy” rating and issued a $80.00 price target (up from $65.00) on shares of Merck & Company in a report on Thursday, October 27th. Vetr cut shares of Merck & Company from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating and set a $52.27 price objective for the company. in a report on Tuesday, December 27th. Bank of America Corporation upgraded shares of Merck & Company from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and lifted their price objective for the company from $57.00 to $70.00 in a report on Thursday, October 13th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Merck & Company from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, December 7th. Finally, Jefferies Group reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $65.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Company in a report on Sunday, October 16th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $64.59.
In related news, Director Rochelle B. Lazarus sold 20,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $59.06, for a total transaction of $1,181,200.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 9,594 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $566,621.64. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 85,523 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, November 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $60.02, for a total transaction of $5,133,090.46. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 77,762 shares in the company, valued at $4,667,275.24. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.
About Merck & Company
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.
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