Tempus Wealth Planning LLC purchased a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) in the fourth quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The firm purchased 7,542 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $686,000. Merck & Co., Inc. comprises about 0.6% of Tempus Wealth Planning LLC’s holdings, making the stock its 26th largest position.
Other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently modified their holdings of the company. Total Clarity Wealth Management Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $27,000. Stephenson National Bank & Trust bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $28,000. Pacifica Partners Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $35,000. Lloyd Advisory Services LLC. bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $42,000. Finally, Moser Wealth Advisors LLC bought a new position in Merck & Co., Inc. during the 4th quarter worth $59,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 75.74% of the company’s stock.
A number of research analysts recently commented on MRK shares. UBS Group lowered their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $99.00 to $96.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research note on Thursday, February 6th. Barclays started coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Thursday, February 27th. They set an “overweight” rating and a $93.00 price objective for the company. Royal Bank of Canada restated a “sector perform” rating and set a $92.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Thursday, February 6th. Argus lowered their price objective on Merck & Co., Inc. from $105.00 to $95.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research note on Tuesday, March 24th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Saturday, February 29th. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $94.50.
Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, February 5th. The company reported $1.16 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.15 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $11.87 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $11.71 billion. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 49.41% and a net margin of 21.01%. The company’s revenue was up 7.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.04 earnings per share. As a group, sell-side analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 5.72 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, April 7th. Stockholders of record on Monday, March 16th will be issued a $0.61 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, March 13th. This represents a $2.44 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.19%. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 47.01%.
In other news, EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 102,073 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, January 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $89.34, for a total value of $9,119,201.82. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 106,099 shares in the company, valued at $9,478,884.66. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Corporate insiders own 0.27% of the company’s stock.
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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