Continental Advisors LLC decreased its position in Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 9.0% during the first quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The fund owned 85,900 shares of the company’s stock after selling 8,500 shares during the period. Merck & accounts for approximately 1.2% of Continental Advisors LLC’s holdings, making the stock its 16th largest position. Continental Advisors LLC’s holdings in Merck & were worth $5,458,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other hedge funds have also bought and sold shares of the company. HM Capital Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Merck & by 0.4% in the first quarter. HM Capital Management LLC now owns 3,734 shares of the company’s stock valued at $236,000 after buying an additional 15 shares in the last quarter. City Holding Co. boosted its position in shares of Merck & by 0.4% in the first quarter. City Holding Co. now owns 7,767 shares of the company’s stock valued at $494,000 after buying an additional 31 shares in the last quarter. Camelot Portfolios LLC boosted its position in shares of Merck & by 0.4% in the first quarter. Camelot Portfolios LLC now owns 7,771 shares of the company’s stock valued at $494,000 after buying an additional 33 shares in the last quarter. Adirondack Trust Co. boosted its position in shares of Merck & by 0.4% in the first quarter. Adirondack Trust Co. now owns 11,334 shares of the company’s stock valued at $720,000 after buying an additional 41 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Northstar Group Inc. boosted its position in shares of Merck & by 0.5% in the first quarter. Northstar Group Inc. now owns 12,778 shares of the company’s stock valued at $811,000 after buying an additional 58 shares in the last quarter. 73.73% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (MRK) traded up 0.922% during midday trading on Friday, reaching $62.753. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 2,082,053 shares. 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 $63.46 and a 200-day moving average of $63.80. The stock has a market cap of $171.15 billion, a PE ratio of 33.976 and a beta of 0.80.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.87 by $0.14. Merck & had a return on equity of 26.02% and a net margin of 17.14%. The firm had revenue of $9.93 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.75 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.93 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts forecast that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.87 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared 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. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.02%. Merck &’s dividend payout ratio is presently 76.11%.

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

About Merck &

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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