Julie L. Gerberding Sells 36,218 Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Stock

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 36,218 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.14, for a total value of $2,721,420.52. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 82,481 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,197,622.34. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link.

MRK stock traded up $0.40 during trading on Thursday, hitting $75.48. The company had a trading volume of 13,004,584 shares, compared to its average volume of 10,920,928. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a current ratio of 1.33 and a quick ratio of 1.04. The firm has a market cap of $197.66 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.96, a P/E/G ratio of 1.99 and a beta of 0.73. Merck & Co., Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $52.83 and a fifty-two week high of $75.68.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. The business had revenue of $10.79 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.87 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 34.20% and a net margin of 8.44%. On average, research analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Investors of record on Monday, December 17th will be paid a $0.55 dividend. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 14th. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.91%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is currently 48.24%.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has approved a stock buyback plan on Thursday, October 25th that authorizes the company to repurchase $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to reacquire up to 5.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are often an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

MRK has been the topic of several recent research reports. Citigroup set a $79.00 price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 16th. Zacks Investment Research raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $79.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Wednesday, September 26th. Guggenheim assumed coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Monday, October 8th. They set a “buy” rating on the stock. Morgan Stanley set a $74.00 price target on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 23rd. Finally, SunTrust Banks reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $77.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Thursday, August 16th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $71.92.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Rockland Trust Co. acquired a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. in the second quarter worth $3,949,000. Sawyer & Company Inc boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 10.7% in the second quarter. Sawyer & Company Inc now owns 22,984 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,395,000 after purchasing an additional 2,215 shares in the last quarter. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 37.0% in the second quarter. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC now owns 122,748 shares of the company’s stock worth $7,451,000 after purchasing an additional 33,153 shares in the last quarter. Jennison Associates LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 11.0% in the second quarter. Jennison Associates LLC now owns 924,946 shares of the company’s stock worth $56,144,000 after purchasing an additional 91,879 shares in the last quarter. Finally, HL Financial Services LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.7% in the second quarter. HL Financial Services LLC now owns 217,281 shares of the company’s stock worth $13,189,000 after purchasing an additional 1,540 shares in the last quarter. 72.32% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Merck & Co., Inc.

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates in four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, asthma, nasal allergy symptoms, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, fungal, intra-abdominal infections, hypertension, arthritis and pain, inflammatory, osteoporosis, and fertility diseases.

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Insider Buying and Selling by Quarter for Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

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