Traders bought shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) on weakness during trading on Friday. $182.01 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $47.82 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $134.19 million into the stock. Of all companies tracked, Merck & Co. had the 11th highest net in-flow for the day. Merck & Co. traded down ($0.02) for the day and closed at $59.63

Several research firms have commented on MRK. Bank of America Corp. reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Thursday, May 12th. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reiterated a “neutral” rating and issued a $60.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Wednesday, June 8th. Jefferies Group increased their target price on Merck & Co. from $51.00 to $54.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, April 15th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reiterated an “overweight” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Thursday, May 19th. Finally, Societe Generale began coverage on Merck & Co. in a research report on Wednesday, April 6th. They issued a “buy” rating for the company. They noted that the move was a valuation call. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have issued a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of €60.22 ($66.17).

The stock has a market capitalization of $165.06 billion and a PE ratio of 36.56. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $57.34 and its 200 day moving average price is $53.99.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, May 5th. The company reported $0.89 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.85 by $0.04. The firm earned $9.30 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.45 billion. Merck & Co.’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.85 earnings per share. Equities analysts expect that Merck & Co. will post $3.72 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, July 8th. Investors of record on Wednesday, June 15th were issued a dividend of $0.46 per share. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.09%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, June 13th.

In related news, CEO Kenneth C. Frazier sold 60,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, July 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of €58.00 ($63.74), for a total transaction of €3,480,000.00 ($3,824,175.82). Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 554,856 shares in the company, valued at approximately €32,181,648 ($35,364,448.35). The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, EVP Clark Golestani sold 39,877 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of €54.79 ($60.21), for a total value of €2,184,860.83 ($2,400,945.97). Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 17,083 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €935,977.57 ($1,028,546.78). The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Other hedge funds and institutional investors have added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Tocqueville Asset Management L.P. raised its position in Merck & Co. by 0.7% in the fourth quarter. Tocqueville Asset Management L.P. now owns 1,472,638 shares of the company’s stock worth $77,785,000 after buying an additional 10,481 shares during the last quarter. Trust Co. of Vermont raised its position in Merck & Co. by 1.7% in the fourth quarter. Trust Co. of Vermont now owns 82,585 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,362,000 after buying an additional 1,406 shares during the last quarter. Linscomb & Williams Inc. raised its position in Merck & Co. by 5.9% in the fourth quarter. Linscomb & Williams Inc. now owns 54,437 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,875,000 after buying an additional 3,031 shares during the last quarter. Highstreet Asset Management Inc. raised its position in Merck & Co. by 118.8% in the fourth quarter. Highstreet Asset Management Inc. now owns 165,094 shares of the company’s stock worth $8,720,000 after buying an additional 89,644 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank raised its position in Merck & Co. by 2.6% in the fourth quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 936,803 shares of the company’s stock worth $49,482,000 after buying an additional 23,529 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.

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