PNC Financial Services Group Inc. boosted its stake in Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 0.4% during the first quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The fund owned 9,821,563 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 41,748 shares during the period. Merck & comprises approximately 0.7% of PNC Financial Services Group Inc.’s portfolio, making the stock its 20th largest position. PNC Financial Services Group Inc.’s holdings in Merck & were worth $624,064,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other large investors have also recently bought and sold shares of MRK. Round Hill Asset Management bought a new stake in shares of Merck & during the fourth quarter worth approximately $6,448,000. Cigna Investments Inc. New bought a new stake in shares of Merck & during the fourth quarter worth approximately $8,324,000. L & S Advisors Inc bought a new stake in shares of Merck & during the fourth quarter worth approximately $2,716,000. Fortis Advisors LLC bought a new stake in shares of Merck & during the fourth quarter worth approximately $318,000. Finally, Congress Asset Management Co. MA bought a new stake in shares of Merck & during the fourth quarter worth approximately $49,303,000. 73.73% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (MRK) traded down 0.0804% during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $62.2699. 920,321 shares of the company were exchanged. The company has a market capitalization of $170.32 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 33.7141 and a beta of 0.80. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $63.66 and a 200 day moving average of $63.77. Merck & Company, Inc. has a 12-month low of $58.29 and a 12-month high of $66.80.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last issued its earnings results on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates 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 for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.75 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.93 earnings per share. Merck &’s revenue for the quarter was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts forecast that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.87 earnings per share for the current year.

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

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MRK has been the topic of a number of research analyst reports. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) reissued a “neutral” rating and set a $74.00 price objective (up previously from $70.00) on shares of Merck & in a report on Thursday, July 27th. Citigroup Inc. set a $65.00 price objective on shares of Merck & and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 5th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $73.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Friday, May 26th. BidaskClub lowered shares of Merck & from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 19th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies set a $70.00 price objective on shares of Merck & and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Saturday, July 29th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $69.80.

In other news, Director C Robert Kidder sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, May 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $63.54, for a total transaction of $317,700.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 14,317 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $909,702.18. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. 0.05% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

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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