Investors purchased shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) on weakness during trading hours on Thursday. $122.31 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $82.02 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $40.29 million into the stock. Of all stocks tracked, Merck & Co. had the 5th highest net in-flow for the day. Merck & Co. traded down ($0.38) for the day and closed at $58.78

MRK has been the subject of several recent analyst reports. Jefferies Group upped their target price on shares of Merck & Co. from $50.00 to $51.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, March 15th. Vetr raised shares of Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $55.09 price objective for the company in a report on Tuesday, March 15th. TheStreet raised shares of Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, March 16th. Morgan Stanley reissued a “hold” rating and set a $57.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Wednesday, March 23rd. Finally, Leerink Swann reissued a “market perform” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Tuesday, April 5th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have issued a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of €60.22 ($66.91).

The company has a market cap of $164.28 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 36.39. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $56.78 and a 200 day moving average price of $53.75.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, May 5th. The company reported $0.89 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.85 by $0.04. The company earned $9.30 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.45 billion. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.85 EPS. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Merck & Co. will post $3.72 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, July 8th. Investors of record on Wednesday, June 15th were given a dividend of $0.46 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, June 13th. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.10%.

In related news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 30,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of €57.49 ($63.88), for a total transaction of €1,724,700.00 ($1,916,333.33). Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 162,151 shares in the company, valued at €9,322,060.99 ($10,357,845.54). The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Kenneth C. Frazier sold 60,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, July 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of €58.00 ($64.44), for a total transaction of €3,480,000.00 ($3,866,666.67). Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 554,856 shares in the company, valued at €32,181,648 ($35,757,386.67). The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Sippican Capital Advisors raised its position in Merck & Co. by 0.9% in the fourth quarter. Sippican Capital Advisors now owns 19,294 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,019,000 after buying an additional 175 shares during the last quarter. Sawtooth Asset Management Inc. raised its position in Merck & Co. by 304.6% in the fourth quarter. Sawtooth Asset Management Inc. now owns 19,920 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,052,000 after buying an additional 14,997 shares during the last quarter. Curbstone Financial Management raised its position in Merck & Co. by 91.4% in the fourth quarter. Curbstone Financial Management now owns 20,058 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,059,000 after buying an additional 9,579 shares during the last quarter. Fort Pitt Capital Group LLC purchased a new position in Merck & Co. during the fourth quarter valued at $1,071,000. Finally, Northeast Investment Management raised its position in Merck & Co. by 2.3% in the fourth quarter. Northeast Investment Management now owns 21,542 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,138,000 after buying an additional 476 shares during the last quarter.

Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, which it markets directly and through its joint ventures. It operates through one segment, Pharmaceutical. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.

Get Analysts' Upgrades and Downgrades Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of analysts' upgrades, downgrades and new coverage with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.