DF Dent & Co. Inc. maintained its stake in Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) during the first quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The fund owned 22,239 shares of the company’s stock at the end of the first quarter. DF Dent & Co. Inc.’s holdings in Merck & were worth $1,413,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other hedge funds have also recently bought and sold shares of MRK. Vigilant Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in Merck & by 16.7% in the first quarter. Vigilant Capital Management LLC now owns 1,746 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after buying an additional 250 shares during the period. Gradient Investments LLC boosted its stake in Merck & by 41.3% in the first quarter. Gradient Investments LLC now owns 2,306 shares of the company’s stock worth $147,000 after buying an additional 674 shares during the period. Pinnacle Bank bought a new position in shares of Merck & during the first quarter valued at about $152,000. Tortoise Investment Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Merck & by 50.6% in the fourth quarter. Tortoise Investment Management LLC now owns 2,678 shares of the company’s stock valued at $158,000 after buying an additional 900 shares during the period. Finally, Thomas J. Herzfeld Advisors Inc. bought a new position in shares of Merck & during the fourth quarter valued at about $159,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 73.73% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE MRK) traded down 0.1355% during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $62.4053. The stock had a trading volume of 1,604,591 shares. The company has a market cap of $170.69 billion, a P/E ratio of 33.7874 and a beta of 0.80. Merck & Company, Inc. has a one year low of $58.29 and a one year high of $66.80. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $63.56 and a 200-day moving average of $63.81.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.87 by $0.14. Merck & had a net margin of 17.14% and a return on equity of 25.75%. The firm had revenue of $9.93 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.75 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.93 EPS. The company’s revenue was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts forecast that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.87 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 6th. Investors of record on Friday, September 15th will be paid a $0.47 dividend. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.01%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. Merck &’s dividend payout ratio is 76.11%.

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MRK has been the topic of several recent research reports. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, May 10th. J P Morgan Chase & Co boosted their price target on Merck & from $74.00 to $76.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Thursday, May 11th. BMO Capital Markets boosted their price target on Merck & from $68.00 to $70.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Thursday, May 11th. Vetr upgraded Merck & from a “sell” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $71.50 price target on the stock in a research report on Monday, May 15th. Finally, BidaskClub cut Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 11th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $69.80.

In related news, Director C Robert Kidder sold 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, May 12th. The shares were 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 owns 14,317 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $909,702.18. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Company 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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