Griffin Asset Management Inc. Boosts Stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

Griffin Asset Management Inc. lifted its position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 9.1% in the third quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 117,708 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 9,807 shares during the quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. accounts for about 1.4% of Griffin Asset Management Inc.’s holdings, making the stock its 17th largest holding. Griffin Asset Management Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $7,537,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Honeywell International Inc. boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.8% during the 3rd quarter. Honeywell International Inc. now owns 633,700 shares of the company’s stock valued at $40,576,000 after acquiring an additional 100,500 shares during the period. Hanson McClain Inc. boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 65.0% during the 2nd quarter. Hanson McClain Inc. now owns 7,662 shares of the company’s stock valued at $491,000 after acquiring an additional 3,019 shares during the period. D.A. Davidson & CO. boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.3% during the 3rd quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 524,481 shares of the company’s stock valued at $33,582,000 after acquiring an additional 81,290 shares during the period. Hartland & Co. LLC boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 9.5% during the 2nd quarter. Hartland & Co. LLC now owns 44,558 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,856,000 after acquiring an additional 3,861 shares during the period. Finally, Crescent Grove Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter valued at about $1,092,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.24% of the company’s stock.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, Director Wendell P. Weeks sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.57, for a total value of $267,850.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 5,100 shares in the company, valued at approximately $273,207. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 60,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, January 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.63, for a total value of $3,697,800.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 101,484 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,254,458.92. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 82,500 shares of company stock valued at $5,026,025. Company insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.

MRK has been the subject of several analyst reports. SunTrust Banks upgraded 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 report on Tuesday, January 16th. Jefferies Group restated a “sell” rating and set a $55.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Friday, October 20th. Leerink Swann dropped their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $69.00 to $67.00 and set a “market perform” rating for the company in a report on Tuesday. ValuEngine upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 10th. Finally, Citigroup upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. to a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, October 30th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co., Inc. has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $66.88.

Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) opened at $54.87 on Friday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $53.36 and a fifty-two week high of $66.80. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57, a current ratio of 1.43 and a quick ratio of 1.16. The firm has a market capitalization of $149,490.00, a P/E ratio of 59.00, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.51 and a beta of 0.75.

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

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock repurchase program on Tuesday, November 28th that permits the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are generally a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 6th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 15th will be issued a $0.48 dividend. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.50%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 206.45%.

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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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