Fruth Investment Management Raises Stock Holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

Fruth Investment Management boosted its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRKGet Rating) by 116.4% in the first quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the SEC. The fund owned 21,449 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 11,538 shares during the quarter. Fruth Investment Management’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $1,759,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

A number of other large investors have also modified their holdings of MRK. Financial Avengers Inc. increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 115.8% during the 4th quarter. Financial Avengers Inc. now owns 328 shares of the company’s stock valued at $25,000 after purchasing an additional 176 shares during the last quarter. Front Row Advisors LLC increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 89.4% during the 4th quarter. Front Row Advisors LLC now owns 339 shares of the company’s stock valued at $26,000 after purchasing an additional 160 shares during the last quarter. Moisand Fitzgerald Tamayo LLC increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 78.0% during the 4th quarter. Moisand Fitzgerald Tamayo LLC now owns 356 shares of the company’s stock valued at $27,000 after purchasing an additional 156 shares during the last quarter. Okabena Investment Services Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter valued at about $27,000. Finally, Western Pacific Wealth Management LP purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter valued at about $29,000. 72.88% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

MRK stock opened at $89.16 on Thursday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $70.89 and a 1-year high of $94.92. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.75, a current ratio of 1.40 and a quick ratio of 1.14. The company has a market capitalization of $225.47 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.95, a PEG ratio of 1.19 and a beta of 0.36. The business has a 50 day simple moving average of $88.75 and a two-hundred day simple moving average of $82.17.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRKGet Rating) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 28th. The company reported $2.14 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.81 by $0.33. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 47.86% and a net margin of 26.27%. The business had revenue of $15.90 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $14.64 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $1.40 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 31.6% compared to the same quarter last year. Sell-side analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 7.32 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, July 8th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, June 15th will be paid a $0.69 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, June 14th. This represents a $2.76 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.10%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 49.37%.

MRK has been the subject of several research reports. Mizuho initiated coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Friday, April 1st. They set a “buy” rating and a $100.00 price target for the company. StockNews.com initiated coverage on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Thursday, March 31st. They set a “strong-buy” rating for the company. SVB Leerink reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and set a $102.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Monday, June 6th. Morgan Stanley cut their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $82.00 to $80.00 and set an “equal weight” rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday, April 6th. Finally, Barclays boosted their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $94.00 to $97.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Tuesday, April 12th. Seven research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, seven have issued a buy rating and two have given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. According to MarketBeat.com, the company has an average rating of “Moderate Buy” and a consensus target price of $91.60.

About Merck & Co., Inc. (Get Rating)

Merck & Co, Inc operates as a healthcare company worldwide. It operates through two segments, Pharmaceutical and Animal Health. The Pharmaceutical segment offers human health pharmaceutical products in the areas of oncology, hospital acute care, immunology, neuroscience, virology, cardiovascular, and diabetes, as well as vaccine products, such as preventive pediatric, adolescent, and adult vaccines.

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

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