Traders sold shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) on strength during trading hours on Friday. $57.87 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $93.12 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $35.25 million out of the stock. Of all companies tracked, Merck & Co. had the 0th highest net out-flow for the day. Merck & Co. traded up $0.53 for the day and closed at $62.85

Several equities research analysts have weighed in on MRK shares. Credit Suisse Group AG boosted their price objective on Merck & Co. from $56.00 to $57.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research note on Monday, May 9th. Jefferies Group boosted their price objective on Merck & Co. from $50.00 to $53.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 14th. BMO Capital Markets reissued an “outperform” rating and set a $62.00 price objective on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Tuesday, June 28th. Vetr raised Merck & Co. from a “sell” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $62.26 target price on the stock in a research note on Monday, July 4th. Finally, Leerink Swann reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $58.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Thursday, July 14th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have given a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of €62.78 ($71.34).

The company’s 50 day moving average is $60.74 and its 200 day moving average is $56.06. The firm has a market capitalization of $173.79 billion and a PE ratio of 34.48.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. The company earned $9.84 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.79 billion. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up .6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.86 EPS. Equities research analysts expect that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 7th. Investors 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 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.93%.

In related news, CEO Kenneth C. Frazier sold 60,000 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of €58.00 ($65.91), for a total value of €3,480,000.00 ($3,954,545.45). Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 554,856 shares in the company, valued at approximately €32,181,648 ($36,570,054.55). The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, EVP Clark Golestani sold 3,000 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of €63.03 ($71.63), for a total transaction of €189,090.00 ($214,875.00). The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

A number of hedge funds recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Sippican Capital Advisors increased 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 during the period. Sawtooth Asset Management Inc. increased its position in Merck & Co. by 304.6% in the fourth quarter. Sawtooth Asset Management Inc. now owns 19,920 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,052,000 after buying an additional 14,997 shares during the period. Ironsides Asset Advisors LLC increased its position in Merck & Co. by 2.3% in the fourth quarter. Ironsides Asset Advisors LLC now owns 23,301 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,233,000 after buying an additional 518 shares during the period. Afam Capital Inc. acquired a new position in Merck & Co. during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $1,303,000. Finally, Alerus Investment Advisors Corp increased its position in Merck & Co. by 38.7% in the fourth quarter. Alerus Investment Advisors Corp now owns 28,245 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,492,000 after buying an additional 7,881 shares during the period.

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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