Botty Investors LLC grew its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 5.1% during the 3rd quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The fund owned 69,913 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 3,397 shares during the quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. makes up about 1.4% of Botty Investors LLC’s portfolio, making the stock its 15th biggest holding. Botty Investors LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $4,993,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds have also made changes to their positions in MRK. Prentiss Smith & Co. Inc. raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 17.1% in the 3rd quarter. Prentiss Smith & Co. Inc. now owns 4,793 shares of the company’s stock valued at $340,000 after buying an additional 700 shares during the period. Boyd Watterson Asset Management LLC OH raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 2.4% in the 3rd quarter. Boyd Watterson Asset Management LLC OH now owns 31,345 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,224,000 after buying an additional 725 shares during the period. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 86.5% in the 3rd quarter. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 1,656 shares of the company’s stock valued at $117,000 after buying an additional 768 shares during the period. Howard Capital Management raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.3% in the 3rd quarter. Howard Capital Management now owns 264,546 shares of the company’s stock valued at $18,767,000 after buying an additional 771 shares during the period. Finally, Cobblestone Capital Advisors LLC NY raised its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.4% in the 2nd quarter. Cobblestone Capital Advisors LLC NY now owns 187,080 shares of the company’s stock valued at $11,356,000 after buying an additional 774 shares during the period. 72.29% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Shares of NYSE:MRK opened at $74.78 on Wednesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a quick ratio of 1.15 and a current ratio of 1.44. The stock has a market cap of $205.07 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.79, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.07 and a beta of 0.73. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1 year low of $52.83 and a 1 year high of $76.61.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly 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. The company had revenue of $10.79 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.87 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 8.44% and a return on equity of 34.48%. Analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 17th will be paid a dividend of $0.55 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 14th. This is a positive change from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.94%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is 48.24%.

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

Several analysts recently issued reports on MRK shares. Bank of America boosted their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $74.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, July 30th. SunTrust Banks restated a “buy” rating and issued a $77.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Thursday, August 16th. Morgan Stanley set a $74.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, August 23rd. Barclays boosted their price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $75.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, September 7th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of 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. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co., Inc. currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $72.53.

In other Merck & Co., Inc. news, insider Roger M. Perlmutter sold 225,443 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated 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 sale, the insider now directly owns 366,998 shares in the company, valued at $27,623,939.46. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 107,360 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, September 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $70.18, for a total transaction of $7,534,524.80. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 100,000 shares in the company, valued at $7,018,000. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 1,279,104 shares of company stock worth $92,845,846 over the last quarter. Insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

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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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