Armbruster Capital Management Inc. boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 23.8% in the third quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the SEC. The firm owned 5,735 shares of the company’s stock after acquiring an additional 1,104 shares during the quarter. Armbruster Capital Management Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $407,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently modified their holdings of the company. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 86.5% during the 3rd quarter. Lenox Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 1,656 shares of the company’s stock worth $117,000 after buying an additional 768 shares in the last quarter. Taylor Wealth Management Partners acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $110,000. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV boosted its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 155.2% during the 2nd quarter. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV now owns 1,832 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after purchasing an additional 1,114 shares during the last quarter. Acropolis Investment Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $140,000. Finally, Atlantic Trust LLC acquired a new position in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $127,000. 72.72% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

In other news, EVP Julie L. Gerberding sold 36,218 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.14, for a total transaction of $2,721,420.52. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 82,481 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $6,197,622.34. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, insider Roger M. Perlmutter sold 225,443 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.27, for a total value of $16,969,094.61. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 366,998 shares in the company, valued at approximately $27,623,939.46. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 1,279,104 shares of company stock worth $92,845,846 over the last 90 days. 0.32% of the stock is owned by insiders.

MRK traded down $1.65 during trading hours on Friday, reaching $76.72. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 12,622,920 shares, compared to its average volume of 11,798,234. Merck & Co., Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $52.83 and a fifty-two week high of $80.19. The stock has a market capitalization of $211.30 billion, a PE ratio of 19.28, a P/E/G ratio of 2.13 and a beta of 0.71. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a quick ratio of 1.15 and a current ratio of 1.44.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.19 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.14 by $0.05. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 34.48% and a net margin of 8.44%. The firm had revenue of $10.79 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.87 billion. As a group, equities research analysts forecast that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.34 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its board has authorized a share repurchase program on Thursday, October 25th that authorizes the company to buyback $10.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to reacquire up to 5.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are typically a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 8th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 17th will be paid a dividend of $0.55 per share. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.87%. This is a boost from Merck & Co., Inc.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. The ex-dividend date is Friday, December 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s dividend payout ratio is 48.24%.

MRK has been the topic of several recent research reports. Guggenheim initiated coverage on Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Monday, October 8th. They set a “buy” rating on the stock. Credit Suisse Group boosted their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $71.00 to $81.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Thursday, October 11th. SunTrust Banks boosted their target price on Merck & Co., Inc. from $77.00 to $80.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, October 29th. Zacks Investment Research cut Merck & Co., Inc. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, October 1st. Finally, Morgan Stanley set a $74.00 target price on Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, August 23rd. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & Co., Inc. presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $73.65.

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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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