Investors sold shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) on strength during trading on Wednesday. $81.38 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $110.28 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $28.90 million out of the stock. Of all stocks tracked, Merck & Co. had the 0th highest net out-flow for the day. Merck & Co. traded up $0.24 for the day and closed at $58.60

Several equities research analysts recently issued reports on MRK shares. Societe Generale started coverage on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Wednesday, April 6th. They issued a “buy” rating for the company. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Vetr upgraded shares of Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $55.12 target price on the stock in a report on Monday, April 4th. Argus reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Thursday, June 9th. Credit Suisse Group AG reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $59.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Wednesday, July 6th. Finally, Jefferies Group dropped their target price on shares of Merck & Co. from $54.00 to $53.00 and set a “hold” rating on the stock in a report on Tuesday, June 14th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have given a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of €60.22 ($66.91).

The firm has a market cap of $162.21 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 35.93. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $57.79 and its 200 day moving average is $54.35.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, May 5th. The company reported $0.89 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.85 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $9.30 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.45 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $0.85 earnings per share. Merck & Co.’s revenue was down 1.2% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts predict that Merck & Co. will post $3.72 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 7th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th will be given a dividend of $0.46 per share. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.14%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, September 13th.

In related news, CEO Kenneth C. Frazier sold 60,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, July 5th. The shares were 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 directly owns 554,856 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €32,181,648 ($35,757,386.67). The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 45,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, July 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of €57.99 ($64.43), for a total transaction of €2,609,550.00 ($2,899,500.00). Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 123,151 shares in the company, valued at €7,141,526.49 ($7,935,029.43). The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

A number of institutional investors have added to or reduced their stakes in MRK. GAM Holding AG raised its position in Merck & Co. by 3.1% in the fourth quarter. GAM Holding AG now owns 1,146,811 shares of the company’s stock worth $60,574,000 after buying an additional 34,310 shares in the last quarter. Conning Inc. raised its position in Merck & Co. by 1.8% in the fourth quarter. Conning Inc. now owns 623,656 shares of the company’s stock worth $32,942,000 after buying an additional 10,901 shares in the last quarter. First National Trust Co. raised its position in Merck & Co. by 1.7% in the fourth quarter. First National Trust Co. now owns 195,762 shares of the company’s stock worth $10,340,000 after buying an additional 3,308 shares in the last quarter. ProShare Advisors LLC raised its position in Merck & Co. by 1.8% in the fourth quarter. ProShare Advisors LLC now owns 660,182 shares of the company’s stock worth $34,871,000 after buying an additional 11,680 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. raised its position in Merck & Co. by 0.8% in the fourth quarter. Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. now owns 358,380 shares of the company’s stock worth $18,930,000 after buying an additional 2,900 shares in 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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