Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. Lowers Holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. lowered its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.8% in the 3rd quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The fund owned 281,426 shares of the company’s stock after selling 5,290 shares during the quarter. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $18,025,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

A number of other hedge funds have also added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Cubist Systematic Strategies LLC raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.8% in the third quarter. Cubist Systematic Strategies LLC now owns 62,420 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,997,000 after acquiring an additional 9,900 shares during the period. Cedar Hill Associates LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the third quarter valued at $386,000. Beacon Investment Advisory Services Inc. raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 661.7% in the third quarter. Beacon Investment Advisory Services Inc. now owns 130,433 shares of the company’s stock valued at $8,351,000 after acquiring an additional 113,310 shares during the period. Patten Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 229.6% in the third quarter. Patten Group Inc. now owns 113,849 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,206,000 after acquiring an additional 79,308 shares during the period. Finally, Birch Hill Investment Advisors LLC raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 4.9% in the third quarter. Birch Hill Investment Advisors LLC now owns 624,788 shares of the company’s stock valued at $40,005,000 after acquiring an additional 29,075 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 73.24% of the company’s stock.

Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) opened at $54.73 on Friday. The company has a market cap of $149,110.00, a PE ratio of 58.85, a P/E/G ratio of 2.51 and a beta of 0.75. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12 month low of $53.63 and a 12 month high of $66.80. The company has a quick ratio of 1.16, a current ratio of 1.43 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Friday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.98 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.94 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $10.43 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.48 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 6.40% and a return on equity of 27.73%. The firm’s revenue was up 3.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.89 EPS. analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.15 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 6th. Investors of record on Thursday, March 15th will be paid a $0.48 dividend. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.51%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 206.45%.

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its board has approved a share repurchase plan on Tuesday, November 28th that allows the company to buyback $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are often a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

MRK has been the topic of several recent analyst reports. Bank of America initiated coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, November 28th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $64.00 target price on the stock. BMO Capital Markets set a $70.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 18th. Sanford C. Bernstein reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $64.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Wednesday, November 15th. SunTrust Banks raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and increased their target price for the company from $54.00 to $72.00 in a research note on Tuesday, January 16th. Finally, Jefferies Group downgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to an “underperform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 1st. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and ten have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $66.88.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, January 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total transaction of $3,697,800.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 101,484 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,254,458.92. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, January 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $58.00, for a total transaction of $290,000.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 101,484 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,886,072. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 77,500 shares of company stock worth $4,758,175 in the last ninety days. 0.25% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

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Merck & Co., Inc. Profile

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 & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

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