Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) shot up 7.6% on Friday . The company traded as high as $62.60 and last traded at $62.26, with a volume of 46,198,690 shares. The stock had previously closed at $57.84.

A number of brokerages have recently weighed in on MRK. BMO Capital Markets lowered shares of Merck & Co. from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $62.00 price objective for the company. in a report on Monday, July 18th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Leerink Swann restated a “hold” rating and issued a $58.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Thursday, July 14th. Jefferies Group boosted their price objective on shares of Merck & Co. from $50.00 to $53.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, July 14th. Credit Suisse Group AG restated a “hold” rating and issued a $59.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Wednesday, July 13th. Finally, Vetr upgraded shares of Merck & Co. from a “sell” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $62.26 price objective for the company in a report on Monday, July 4th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have issued a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of €60.88 ($67.65).

The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $58.06 and a 200-day moving average price of $54.63. The firm has a market cap of $176.77 billion and a PE ratio of 35.03.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.91 by $0.02. The firm had revenue of $9.84 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.79 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.86 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts anticipate that Merck & Co. will post $3.73 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business 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 $0.46 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.88%.

In related news, CEO Kenneth C. Frazier sold 60,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, July 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of €58.00 ($64.44), for a total value of €3,480,000.00 ($3,866,666.67). Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 554,856 shares in the company, valued at €32,181,648 ($35,757,386.67). The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 50,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, July 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of €57.69 ($64.10), for a total value of €2,884,500.00 ($3,205,000.00). Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 50,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €2,884,500 ($3,205,000). The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Other hedge funds recently modified their holdings of the company. Sippican Capital Advisors increased 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 in the last quarter. Sawtooth Asset Management Inc. increased 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 in the last quarter. Curbstone Financial Management increased 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 in the last quarter. Sfmg LLC increased 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 in the last quarter. Finally, Ironsides Asset Advisors LLC increased 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 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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