Traders bought shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) on weakness during trading hours on Friday. $174.71 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $47.12 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $127.59 million into the stock. Of all companies tracked, Merck & Co. had the highest net in-flow for the day. Merck & Co. traded down ($0.27) for the day and closed at $63.36

Several research firms have recently weighed in on MRK. Bank of America Corp. reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Thursday, May 12th. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reissued a “neutral” rating and issued a $60.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Wednesday, June 8th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reissued an “overweight” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Thursday, May 19th. Piper Jaffray Cos. reissued a “neutral” rating and issued a $62.00 target price (up from $58.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Monday, August 8th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets downgraded Merck & Co. from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $62.00 target price for the company. in a report on Monday, July 18th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have assigned a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of €62.78 ($70.54).

The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $60.16 and its 200-day moving average price is $55.58. The company has a market cap of $175.20 billion and a PE ratio of 34.76.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. The business earned $9.84 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.79 billion. The business’s revenue was up .6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.86 EPS. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 7th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 15th will be issued 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 2.90%.

In other news, EVP Clark Golestani sold 3,000 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of €63.03 ($70.82), for a total transaction of €189,090.00 ($212,460.67). The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 30,000 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of €57.49 ($64.60), for a total value of €1,724,700.00 ($1,937,865.17). Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 162,151 shares in the company, valued at approximately €9,322,060.99 ($10,474,225.83). The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Several large investors have added to or reduced their stakes in MRK. 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 worth $1,019,000 after buying an additional 175 shares during the period. Sawtooth Asset Management Inc. boosted its stake in 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 period. Sfmg LLC boosted its stake in 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 period. Ironsides Asset Advisors LLC boosted its stake in 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 period. Finally, Afam Capital Inc. acquired a new stake in Merck & Co. during the fourth quarter worth $1,303,000.

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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