Exxonmobil Investment Management Inc. TX cut its position in Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.5% during the third quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The fund owned 706,056 shares of the company’s stock after selling 10,448 shares during the period. Merck & Co. accounts for approximately 0.9% of Exxonmobil Investment Management Inc. TX’s holdings, making the stock its 19th largest position. Exxonmobil Investment Management Inc. TX’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $44,065,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other institutional investors have also recently bought and sold shares of MRK. Acrospire Investment Management LLC raised its position in Merck & Co. by 5.9% in the second quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 1,800 shares of the company’s stock worth $104,000 after buying an additional 100 shares during the last quarter. Roble Belko & Company Inc raised its position in Merck & Co. by 124.7% in the second quarter. Roble Belko & Company Inc now owns 1,802 shares of the company’s stock worth $104,000 after buying an additional 1,000 shares during the last quarter. Americafirst Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in Merck & Co. during the second quarter worth approximately $115,000. NewSquare Capital LLC raised its position in Merck & Co. by 14.2% in the second quarter. NewSquare Capital LLC now owns 2,104 shares of the company’s stock worth $121,000 after buying an additional 261 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Pinkerton Retirement Specialists LLC raised its position in Merck & Co. by 1,925.2% in the second quarter. Pinkerton Retirement Specialists LLC now owns 2,248 shares of the company’s stock worth $130,000 after buying an additional 2,137 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.55% of the company’s stock.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK)

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded down 0.233% during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $62.045. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 762,611 shares. Merck & Co. has a one year low of $47.97 and a one year high of $65.46. The stock has a market cap of $171.07 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 31.688 and a beta of 0.76. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $61.61 and its 200-day moving average price is $60.15.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, October 25th. The company reported $1.07 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.99 by $0.08. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 24.25% and a net margin of 13.76%. The firm 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 earned $0.96 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 4.6% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts forecast that Merck & Co. will post $3.78 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, January 9th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, December 15th will be issued a $0.47 dividend. This represents a $1.88 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.02%. This is a positive change from Merck & Co.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.46. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, December 13th. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 93.88%.

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Several research analysts have recently issued reports on MRK shares. Barclays PLC increased their target price on Merck & Co. from $66.00 to $72.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, September 9th. Jefferies Group increased their target price on Merck & Co. from $53.00 to $57.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, August 8th. Zacks Investment Research raised Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $70.00 target price for the company in a research report on Friday, October 14th. Morgan Stanley set a $60.00 target price on Merck & Co. and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 13th. Finally, Sanford C. Bernstein reissued an “outperform” rating and issued a $74.00 target price (up previously from $66.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Thursday, August 11th. Thirteen analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $66.24.

In other news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $62.07, for a total transaction of $2,532,456.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 128,973 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $8,005,354.11. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director Rochelle B. Lazarus sold 20,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 2nd. The stock was 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 in the company, valued at $566,621.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.05% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Merck & Co. Company 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, 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.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:MRK

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