Investors 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 stocks 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 research firms have recently weighed in on MRK. Credit Suisse Group AG upgraded shares of Merck & Co. from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating and lifted their price objective for the company from $62.00 to $73.00 in a research note on Sunday, August 7th. Piper Jaffray Cos. reiterated a “neutral” rating and issued a $62.00 price objective (up previously from $58.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Monday, August 8th. Deutsche Bank AG lifted their price objective on shares of Merck & Co. from $58.00 to $59.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, August 8th. Jefferies Group lifted their price objective on shares of Merck & Co. from $53.00 to $57.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, August 8th. Finally, Sanford C. Bernstein reiterated an “outperform” rating and issued a $74.00 price objective (up previously from $66.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Thursday, August 11th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have issued a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of €62.78 ($71.34).

The firm has a market cap of $173.79 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 34.48. The company’s 50 day moving average is $60.74 and its 200-day moving average is $56.06.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.86 earnings per share. The firm earned $9.84 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.79 billion. Merck & Co.’s quarterly revenue was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts anticipate that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 EPS for the current year.

The company 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. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.93%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, September 13th.

In related news, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 30,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, July 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of €57.49 ($65.33), for a total transaction of €1,724,700.00 ($1,959,886.36). Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 162,151 shares in the company, valued at approximately €9,322,060.99 ($10,593,251.13). The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, EVP Clark Golestani sold 3,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of €63.03 ($71.63), for a total value of €189,090.00 ($214,875.00). The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Other large investors recently modified their holdings of the company. Sippican Capital Advisors boosted 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 period. Sawtooth Asset Management Inc. boosted 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 period. Ironsides Asset Advisors LLC boosted 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 period. Afam Capital Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Merck & Co. during the fourth quarter worth $1,303,000. Finally, Alerus Investment Advisors Corp boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 38.7% in the fourth quarter. Alerus Investment Advisors Corp now owns 28,245 shares of the company’s stock worth $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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