Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB reduced its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 5.7% in the 3rd quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The firm owned 476,196 shares of the company’s stock after selling 28,759 shares during the quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. makes up approximately 0.7% of Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB’s portfolio, making the stock its 23rd largest position. Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $33,781,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other hedge funds also recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC lifted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 86.5% in the third quarter. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 1,656 shares of the company’s stock worth $117,000 after buying an additional 768 shares during the last quarter. WESPAC Advisors SoCal LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the third quarter worth $118,000. Taylor Wealth Management Partners acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the second quarter worth $110,000. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV lifted its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 155.2% in the second quarter. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV now owns 1,832 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after buying an additional 1,114 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Acropolis Investment Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the third quarter worth $140,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.29% of the company’s stock.

MRK has been the subject of a number of analyst reports. SunTrust Banks boosted their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $77.00 to $80.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, October 29th. Citigroup boosted their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $79.00 to $84.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 31st. Bank of America boosted their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $74.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, July 30th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $80.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Monday, October 8th. Finally, Morgan Stanley set a $74.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 23rd. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co., Inc. has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $72.53.

Shares of MRK stock opened at $76.06 on Monday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1 year low of $52.83 and a 1 year high of $76.25. The firm has a market cap of $205.07 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.11, a P/E/G ratio of 2.07 and a beta of 0.73. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a quick ratio of 1.15 and a current ratio of 1.44.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.14 by $0.05. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 8.44% and a return on equity of 34.48%. The business had revenue of $10.79 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.87 billion. Analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Investors of record on Monday, December 17th will be given a dividend of $0.55 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 14th. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.89%. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 48.24%.

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

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. purchased 666,666 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, October 1st. The shares were purchased at an average price of $15.00 per share, with a total value of $9,999,990.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, insider Roger M. Perlmutter sold 225,443 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.27, for a total transaction of $16,969,094.61. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 366,998 shares in the company, valued at approximately $27,623,939.46. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 1,279,104 shares of company stock worth $92,845,846 in the last ninety days. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

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Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile

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

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