WoodTrust Financial Corp lessened its stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 2.2% during the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the SEC. The fund owned 47,405 shares of the company’s stock after selling 1,048 shares during the quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. comprises about 2.0% of WoodTrust Financial Corp’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 18th biggest position. WoodTrust Financial Corp’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $3,622,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.
A number of other large investors also recently made changes to their positions in the business. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. raised its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 186.4% in the fourth quarter. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. now owns 653 shares of the company’s stock valued at $50,000 after purchasing an additional 425 shares during the period. Arlington Partners LLC increased its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 93.5% during the fourth quarter. Arlington Partners LLC now owns 828 shares of the company’s stock worth $63,000 after acquiring an additional 400 shares during the last quarter. Advisors Preferred LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the fourth quarter worth about $66,000. Financial Gravity Companies Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the fourth quarter worth about $66,000. Finally, Quantamental Technologies LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the fourth quarter worth about $109,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.46% of the company’s stock.
In related news, major shareholder Merck & Co., Inc. purchased 4,121,683 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, April 8th. The shares were bought at an average price of $16.00 per share, with a total value of $65,946,928.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 231,566 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, February 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.08, for a total value of $18,080,673.28. Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 923,516 shares in the company, valued at approximately $72,108,129.28. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 1,094,632 shares of company stock worth $87,840,652 in the last ninety days. 0.32% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Friday, February 1st. The company reported $1.04 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.01. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 36.83% 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 quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.98 earnings per share. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 5.4% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, sell-side analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.65 EPS for the current year.
The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, April 5th. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 15th were issued a $0.55 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, March 14th. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.01%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 50.69%.
A number of brokerages have recently issued reports on MRK. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Tuesday, February 19th. Argus lifted their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. to $95.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 20th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, January 24th. Cantor Fitzgerald restated a “buy” rating and issued a $95.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Monday, March 4th. Finally, ValuEngine downgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eleven have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $78.74.
About Merck & Co., Inc.
Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, intra-abdominal, fungal infection, insomnia, and inflammatory diseases.
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