Investors purchased shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) on weakness during trading hours on Thursday. $90.64 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $60.78 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $29.86 million into the stock. Of all equities tracked, Merck & Co. had the 11th highest net in-flow for the day. Merck & Co. traded down ($0.17) for the day and closed at $58.43

Several research analysts have recently commented on the stock. Bank of America Corp. reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Thursday, May 12th. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and set a $60.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Wednesday, June 8th. Jefferies Group raised their target price on shares of Merck & Co. from $51.00 to $54.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, April 15th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reaffirmed an “overweight” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Thursday, May 19th. Finally, Societe Generale assumed coverage on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Wednesday, April 6th. They set a “buy” rating on the stock. They noted that the move was a valuation call. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have given a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of €60.22 ($66.91).

The company has a 50-day moving average price of $57.85 and a 200 day moving average price of $54.43. The firm has a market cap of $162.37 billion and a P/E ratio of 35.97.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.86 earnings per share. The business had revenue of $9.84 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.79 billion. The business’s quarterly revenue was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts forecast that Merck & Co. will post $3.72 EPS for the current 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 paid a dividend of $0.46 per share. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.14%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, September 13th.

In other Merck & Co. news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 45,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of €57.99 ($64.43), for a total value of €2,609,550.00 ($2,899,500.00). Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 123,151 shares in the company, valued at approximately €7,141,526.49 ($7,935,029.43). The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 50,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of €57.69 ($64.10), for a total transaction of €2,884,500.00 ($3,205,000.00). Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 50,000 shares in the company, valued at €2,884,500 ($3,205,000). The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Buckingham Capital Management Inc. boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 0.6% in the third quarter. Buckingham Capital Management Inc. now owns 28,184 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,392,000 after buying an additional 174 shares in the last quarter. Sippican Capital Advisors boosted its stake 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 in the last quarter. Navellier & Associates Inc boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 0.4% in the fourth quarter. Navellier & Associates Inc now owns 64,463 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,405,000 after buying an additional 245 shares in the last quarter. Dorsey & Whitney Trust CO LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 0.9% in the fourth quarter. Dorsey & Whitney Trust CO LLC now owns 34,049 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,799,000 after buying an additional 288 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Carret Asset Management LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co. by 0.6% in the fourth quarter. Carret Asset Management LLC now owns 61,592 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,253,000 after buying an additional 353 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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