Southeast Asset Advisors Inc. Sells 1,991 Shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (MRK)

Southeast Asset Advisors Inc. reduced its stake in Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 27.2% during the first quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the SEC. The firm owned 5,323 shares of the company’s stock after selling 1,991 shares during the quarter. Southeast Asset Advisors Inc.’s holdings in Merck & were worth $338,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

A number of other institutional investors also recently made changes to their positions in MRK. Vigilant Capital Management LLC increased its stake in Merck & by 16.7% in the 1st quarter. Vigilant Capital Management LLC now owns 1,746 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after buying an additional 250 shares in the last quarter. Gradient Investments LLC increased its stake in Merck & by 41.3% in the 1st quarter. Gradient Investments LLC now owns 2,306 shares of the company’s stock worth $147,000 after buying an additional 674 shares in the last quarter. Pinnacle Bank purchased a new stake in Merck & in the 1st quarter worth $152,000. Dillon & Associates Inc. purchased a new stake in Merck & in the 1st quarter worth $206,000. Finally, Stokes & Hubbell Capital Management LLC purchased a new stake in Merck & in the 1st quarter worth $213,000. 73.02% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

MRK has been the subject of a number of analyst reports. Vetr upgraded Merck & from a “sell” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $71.50 price target for the company in a research note on Monday, May 15th. Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a “sell” rating and issued a $51.00 price target on shares of Merck & in a research note on Wednesday, May 24th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Merck & from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, May 25th. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $74.00 price target on shares of Merck & in a research note on Tuesday, June 6th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group set a $72.00 price target on Merck & and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, June 6th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $69.56.

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Shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE MRK) traded down 0.08% on Friday, hitting $64.27. 7,365,817 shares of the company were exchanged. The stock has a market capitalization of $175.29 billion, a PE ratio of 34.80 and a beta of 0.81. Merck & Company, Inc. has a 52-week low of $58.29 and a 52-week high of $66.80. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $62.97 and its 200-day moving average is $63.73.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.14. Merck & had a net margin of 17.14% and a return on equity of 26.02%. The company had revenue of $9.93 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.75 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.93 EPS. Merck &’s revenue was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts predict that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.88 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 6th. Investors of record on Friday, September 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.47 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. This represents a $1.88 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.93%. Merck &’s dividend payout ratio is presently 76.11%.

About Merck &

Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services and Alliances. 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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Merck & (NYSE:MRK)

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