Port Capital LLC Invests $1.03 Million in Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

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Port Capital LLC acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) during the third quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The firm acquired 14,492 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,028,000.

Several other large investors also recently modified their holdings of MRK. Smith Asset Management Group LP increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 1,183.1% in the 2nd quarter. Smith Asset Management Group LP now owns 177,070 shares of the company’s stock valued at $10,766,000 after buying an additional 163,270 shares during the last quarter. Cannell Peter B & Co. Inc. increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 29.0% in the 2nd quarter. Cannell Peter B & Co. Inc. now owns 278,945 shares of the company’s stock valued at $16,932,000 after buying an additional 62,675 shares during the last quarter. Sivik Global Healthcare LLC acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter valued at $6,449,000. Checchi Capital Advisers LLC increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.0% in the 2nd quarter. Checchi Capital Advisers LLC now owns 26,914 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,634,000 after buying an additional 792 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Huber Financial Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the 2nd quarter valued at $529,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.58% of the company’s stock.

MRK has been the topic of several recent research reports. Guggenheim initiated coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Monday, October 8th. They issued a “buy” rating on the stock. SunTrust Banks lifted their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $77.00 to $80.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, October 29th. Credit Suisse Group lifted their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $71.00 to $81.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, October 11th. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, October 1st. Finally, ValuEngine raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 18th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $73.32.

Shares of MRK opened at $74.90 on Monday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a one year low of $52.83 and a one year high of $80.19. The stock has a market capitalization of $203.32 billion, a PE ratio of 18.82, a PEG ratio of 1.82 and a beta of 0.67. The company has a quick ratio of 1.15, a current ratio of 1.44 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates 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 company had revenue of $10.79 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.87 billion. On average, research analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Stockholders of record on Monday, December 17th were given a $0.55 dividend. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.94%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, December 14th. This is an increase from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 55.28%.

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

In related news, EVP Richard R. Deluca sold 25,467 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, October 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.00, for a total transaction of $1,833,624.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 82,135 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $5,913,720. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 36,218 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.14, for a total transaction of $2,721,420.52. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 82,481 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,197,622.34. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 612,043 shares of company stock valued at $45,530,574. 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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