Prospera Financial Services Inc cut its stake in Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 21.9% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The firm owned 9,559 shares of the company’s stock after selling 2,682 shares during the period. Prospera Financial Services Inc’s holdings in Merck & were worth $610,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other large investors have also made changes to their positions in the company. Vigilant Capital Management LLC increased its stake in shares of Merck & by 16.7% in the first quarter. Vigilant Capital Management LLC now owns 1,746 shares of the company’s stock valued at $111,000 after buying an additional 250 shares during the period. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. increased its stake in shares of Merck & by 15.5% in the second quarter. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 1,727 shares of the company’s stock valued at $111,000 after buying an additional 232 shares during the period. Harbour Capital Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & during the first quarter valued at about $127,000. Gradient Investments LLC increased its stake in shares of Merck & by 41.3% in the first quarter. Gradient Investments LLC now owns 2,306 shares of the company’s stock valued at $147,000 after buying an additional 674 shares during the period. Finally, Pinnacle Bank acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & during the first quarter valued at about $152,000. Institutional investors own 73.73% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (MRK) traded down 0.232% on Thursday, reaching $62.345. The company had a trading volume of 3,005,659 shares. Merck & Company, Inc. has a 12 month low of $58.29 and a 12 month high of $66.80. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $63.56 and a 200-day moving average price of $63.81. The stock has a market cap of $170.52 billion, a PE ratio of 33.755 and a beta of 0.80.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last issued 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. The firm had revenue of $9.93 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.75 billion. Merck & had a return on equity of 25.75% and a net margin of 17.14%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.93 EPS. Analysts predict that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.87 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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

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Several equities research analysts have issued reports on MRK shares. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 price target for the company in a report on Wednesday, May 10th. Vetr downgraded Merck & from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $69.99 price target for the company. in a report on Wednesday, May 17th. BMO Capital Markets restated a “buy” rating and issued a $74.00 price target on shares of Merck & in a report on Tuesday, June 6th. Credit Suisse Group set a $72.00 price target on Merck & and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, June 6th. Finally, 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. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and twelve have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $69.80.

In other Merck & news, Director C Robert Kidder sold 5,000 shares of the business’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 completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 14,317 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $909,702.18. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. 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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