Westfield Capital Management Co. LP boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 644.6% during the first quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 90,534 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 78,375 shares during the period. Westfield Capital Management Co. LP’s holdings in Merck & were worth $5,753,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other large investors have also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Comerica Securities Inc. increased its stake in Merck & by 3.5% in the first quarter. Comerica Securities Inc. now owns 62,419 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,966,000 after buying an additional 2,094 shares in the last quarter. AE Wealth Management LLC increased its stake in Merck & by 20.6% in the first quarter. AE Wealth Management LLC now owns 35,672 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,267,000 after buying an additional 6,104 shares in the last quarter. Alley Co LLC increased its stake in Merck & by 10.5% in the first quarter. Alley Co LLC now owns 61,252 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,892,000 after buying an additional 5,827 shares in the last quarter. Fort Washington Investment Advisors Inc. OH increased its stake in Merck & by 133.4% in the first quarter. Fort Washington Investment Advisors Inc. OH now owns 144,247 shares of the company’s stock valued at $9,165,000 after buying an additional 82,454 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Tredje AP fonden increased its stake in Merck & by 3.0% in the first quarter. Tredje AP fonden now owns 454,197 shares of the company’s stock valued at $29,073,000 after buying an additional 13,136 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.73% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE MRK) opened at 62.39 on Wednesday. Merck & Company, Inc. has a 12 month low of $58.29 and a 12 month high of $66.80. The firm has a market capitalization of $170.65 billion, a PE ratio of 33.78 and a beta of 0.80. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $63.66 and a 200-day moving average price of $63.77.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last issued its earnings results on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.14. Merck & had a return on equity of 25.75% and a net margin of 17.14%. The company had revenue of $9.93 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.75 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.93 earnings per share. Merck &’s quarterly revenue was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts expect that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.87 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 6th. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 15th will be paid a $0.47 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 14th. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.02%. Merck &’s payout ratio is currently 76.11%.

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Several equities research analysts recently issued reports on the company. BidaskClub downgraded Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Merck & from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 2nd. UBS AG upped their price target on Merck & from $70.00 to $72.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, July 31st. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $70.00 price target on Merck & and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Saturday, July 29th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) restated a “neutral” rating and set a $74.00 price target (up previously from $70.00) on shares of Merck & in a report on Thursday, July 27th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $69.80.

In other Merck & news, Director C Robert Kidder sold 5,000 shares of Merck & stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, May 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $63.54, for a total value of $317,700.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 14,317 shares in the company, valued at $909,702.18. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.

Merck & Company Profile

Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services and Alliances. 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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Merck & (NYSE:MRK)

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