Leslie A. Brun Sells 3,052 Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Stock

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Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) Director Leslie A. Brun sold 3,052 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $77.22, for a total value of $235,675.44. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 5,000 shares in the company, valued at $386,100. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link.

Shares of MRK traded down $0.81 during mid-day trading on Monday, reaching $76.71. The company had a trading volume of 12,962,200 shares, compared to its average volume of 13,190,743. 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. has a 52 week low of $52.83 and a 52 week high of $80.19. The stock has a market cap of $209.01 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.68, a P/E/G ratio of 2.05 and a beta of 0.62.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Friday, February 1st. The company reported $1.04 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.03 by $0.01. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 35.10% and a net margin of 14.71%. The firm had revenue of $11 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.93 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.98 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.4% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.65 EPS for the current year.

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

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, April 5th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 15th will be given a $0.55 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 14th. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.87%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 50.69%.

MRK has been the topic of several research reports. BMO Capital Markets cut Merck & Co., Inc. from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $80.00 price objective on the stock. in a research report on Wednesday, January 23rd. SunTrust Banks lifted their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $77.00 to $80.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, October 29th. ValuEngine raised Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 18th. Morgan Stanley set a $81.00 price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, December 20th. Finally, Wolfe Research initiated coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Tuesday, October 23rd. They set an “outperform” rating on the stock. Six investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $73.15.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. FMR LLC raised its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 3.2% during the 2nd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 5,037,262 shares of the company’s stock valued at $305,762,000 after buying an additional 157,592 shares during the last quarter. Boulegeris Investments Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 18.0% during the second quarter. Boulegeris Investments Inc. now owns 12,505 shares of the company’s stock worth $759,000 after buying an additional 1,905 shares in the last quarter. BlueMountain Capital Management LLC grew its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 3,029.9% during the second quarter. BlueMountain Capital Management LLC now owns 59,469 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,610,000 after buying an additional 57,569 shares in the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the second quarter worth about $17,887,000. Finally, Baird Financial Group Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 5.5% during the second quarter. Baird Financial Group Inc. now owns 1,540,958 shares of the company’s stock worth $93,536,000 after buying an additional 80,806 shares in the last quarter. 74.29% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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 agents to treat cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, asthma, nasal allergy, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, fungal, intra-abdominal, hypertension, arthritis and pain, inflammatory, osteoporosis, and fertility diseases.

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