A. D. Beadell Investment Counsel Inc. lessened its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 6.5% in the third quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The firm owned 14,366 shares of the company’s stock after selling 998 shares during the quarter. A. D. Beadell Investment Counsel Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $1,019,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other large investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 36.5% during the third quarter. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC now owns 167,518 shares of the company’s stock valued at $11,884,000 after acquiring an additional 44,770 shares in the last quarter. BigSur Wealth Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 4.1% during the third quarter. BigSur Wealth Management LLC now owns 20,705 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,479,000 after acquiring an additional 820 shares in the last quarter. Handelsbanken Fonder AB raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 49.6% during the third quarter. Handelsbanken Fonder AB now owns 745,000 shares of the company’s stock valued at $52,850,000 after acquiring an additional 247,000 shares in the last quarter. Telemus Capital LLC raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 4.7% during the third quarter. Telemus Capital LLC now owns 49,414 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,505,000 after acquiring an additional 2,233 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Meag Munich Ergo Kapitalanlagegesellschaft MBH raised its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 1.9% during the third quarter. Meag Munich Ergo Kapitalanlagegesellschaft MBH now owns 224,971 shares of the company’s stock valued at $15,825,000 after acquiring an additional 4,287 shares in the last quarter. 72.29% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

In other news, insider Roger M. Perlmutter sold 225,443 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.27, for a total transaction of $16,969,094.61. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 366,998 shares in the company, valued at $27,623,939.46. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, SVP Ashley Watson sold 47,036 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, October 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $74.33, for a total value of $3,496,185.88. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 32,990 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,452,146.70. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 1,279,104 shares of company stock valued at $92,845,846. 0.32% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

MRK opened at $76.35 on Tuesday. The company has a quick ratio of 1.15, a current ratio of 1.44 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61. The firm has a market capitalization of $205.07 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.18, a PEG ratio of 2.07 and a beta of 0.73. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12-month low of $52.83 and a 12-month high of $76.61.

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

Merck & Co., Inc. declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, October 25th that authorizes the company to buyback $10.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to repurchase up to 5.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are typically a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 17th will be issued a $0.55 dividend. This is an increase 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 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.88%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is 48.24%.

A number of equities analysts recently commented on the company. Wolfe Research assumed coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Tuesday, October 23rd. They set an “outperform” rating for the company. BMO Capital Markets upped their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $82.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Monday, October 22nd. ValuEngine upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, October 18th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $79.00 target price for the company in a report on Wednesday, September 26th. Finally, Citigroup upped their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $79.00 to $84.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 31st. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $72.53.

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

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