Traders bought shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) on weakness during trading on Wednesday. $133.99 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $81.78 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $52.21 million into the stock. Of all stocks tracked, Merck & Co. had the 11th highest net in-flow for the day. Merck & Co. traded down ($0.68) for the day and closed at $57.65

Several equities research analysts recently issued reports on MRK shares. Leerink Swann reiterated a “market perform” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Tuesday, April 5th. Jefferies Group upped their price target on Merck & Co. from $50.00 to $53.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, July 14th. Vetr upgraded Merck & Co. from a “sell” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $62.26 price target on the stock in a report on Monday, July 4th. Credit Suisse Group AG restated a “hold” rating and set a $59.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Wednesday, July 13th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets restated a “market perform” rating and set a $62.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Tuesday. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have given a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the company. Merck & Co. presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of €60.22 ($66.91).

The company’s 50 day moving average is $58.01 and its 200-day moving average is $54.60. The company has a market capitalization of $159.58 billion and a PE ratio of 35.35.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.86 earnings per share. The company earned $9.84 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.79 billion. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts predict that Merck & Co. will post $3.73 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 7th. Stockholders 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 dividend yield of 3.19%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, September 13th.

In other news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 30,000 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 1st. The stock was 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 sale, the insider now directly owns 162,151 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €9,322,060.99 ($10,357,845.54). The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Clark Golestani sold 39,877 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of €54.79 ($60.88), for a total value of €2,184,860.83 ($2,427,623.14). Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 17,083 shares in the company, valued at €935,977.57 ($1,039,975.08). The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Several hedge funds have made changes to their positions in MRK. Sippican Capital Advisors raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 0.9% in the fourth quarter. Sippican Capital Advisors now owns 19,294 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,019,000 after buying an additional 175 shares during the last quarter. Sawtooth Asset Management Inc. raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 304.6% in the fourth quarter. Sawtooth Asset Management Inc. now owns 19,920 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,052,000 after buying an additional 14,997 shares during the last quarter. Curbstone Financial Management raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 91.4% in the fourth quarter. Curbstone Financial Management now owns 20,058 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,059,000 after buying an additional 9,579 shares during the last quarter. Sfmg LLC raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 4.7% in the fourth quarter. Sfmg LLC now owns 21,861 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,155,000 after buying an additional 973 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Ironsides Asset Advisors LLC raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 2.3% in the fourth quarter. Ironsides Asset Advisors LLC now owns 23,301 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,233,000 after buying an additional 518 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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