Sterling Capital Management LLC Sells 15,248 Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

Sterling Capital Management LLC reduced its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.0% in the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 1,585,562 shares of the company’s stock after selling 15,248 shares during the period. Merck & Co., Inc. comprises about 0.9% of Sterling Capital Management LLC’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 24th largest holding. Sterling Capital Management LLC owned 0.06% of Merck & Co., Inc. worth $96,244,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other hedge funds have also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC raised its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 5.6% in the second quarter. Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC now owns 31,696 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,923,000 after buying an additional 1,667 shares during the period. Measured Wealth Private Client Group LLC bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the second quarter valued at approximately $491,000. Morgan Stanley raised its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.9% in the second quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 15,905,834 shares of the company’s stock valued at $965,485,000 after buying an additional 149,438 shares during the period. BRYN MAWR TRUST Co raised its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 0.9% in the second quarter. BRYN MAWR TRUST Co now owns 185,252 shares of the company’s stock valued at $11,245,000 after buying an additional 1,608 shares during the period. Finally, Davy Asset Management Ltd bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the second quarter valued at approximately $9,858,000. 72.18% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Several analysts have issued reports on MRK shares. Citigroup set a $79.00 price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $79.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, September 26th. Guggenheim started coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Monday, October 8th. They issued a “buy” rating on the stock. Morgan Stanley set a $74.00 price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 23rd. Finally, SunTrust Banks restated a “buy” rating and issued a $77.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Thursday, August 16th. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $70.24.

In other news, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. bought 666,666 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 1st. The shares were bought at an average price of $15.00 per share, for a total transaction of $9,999,990.00. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 279,851 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, September 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $70.08, for a total value of $19,611,958.08. Following the transaction, the chairman now owns 971,801 shares in the company, valued at approximately $68,103,814.08. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 929,360 shares of company stock worth $64,370,599. 0.32% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Shares of NYSE MRK opened at $71.82 on Thursday. The company has a market cap of $191.27 billion, a PE ratio of 18.05, a PEG ratio of 2.22 and a beta of 0.81. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a quick ratio of 1.04 and a current ratio of 1.33. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $52.83 and a 1-year high of $72.89.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Friday, July 27th. The company reported $1.06 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.03. The company had revenue of $10.47 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $10.28 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 32.68% and a net margin of 3.67%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 5.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $1.01 earnings per share. Equities research analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.27 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 5th. Stockholders of record on Monday, September 17th were paid a dividend of $0.48 per share. The ex-dividend date was Friday, September 14th. This represents a $1.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.67%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 48.24%.

Merck & Co., Inc. 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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