Viking Fund Management LLC increased its position in shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 6.5% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor owned 49,000 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 3,000 shares during the period. Viking Fund Management LLC’s holdings in Merck & were worth $3,140,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other hedge funds also recently modified their holdings of the company. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. raised 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 worth $111,000 after buying an additional 232 shares in the last quarter. Vigilant Capital Management LLC raised 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 worth $111,000 after buying an additional 250 shares in the last quarter. Harbour Capital Advisors LLC bought a new stake in shares of Merck & during the first quarter worth $127,000. Gradient Investments LLC raised 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 worth $147,000 after buying an additional 674 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Pinnacle Bank bought a new stake in shares of Merck & during the first quarter worth $152,000. 73.73% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) traded up 0.32% during trading on Friday, hitting $62.38. 6,050,985 shares of the stock were exchanged. Merck & Company, Inc. has a 52 week low of $58.29 and a 52 week high of $66.80. The stock has a market cap of $170.13 billion, a P/E ratio of 33.77 and a beta of 0.80. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $63.36 and its 200-day moving average price is $63.80.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.14. Merck & had a net margin of 17.14% and a return on equity of 26.02%. The company had revenue of $9.93 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.75 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.93 earnings per share. Merck &’s revenue for the quarter was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts predict that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.87 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed 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 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.01%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 14th. Merck &’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 76.11%.

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A number of analysts recently weighed in on the stock. HSBC Holdings plc raised shares of Merck & from a “reduce” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday. BidaskClub lowered shares of Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday. UBS AG raised their price target on shares of Merck & from $70.00 to $72.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, July 31st. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Merck & from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 2nd. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $74.00 price target on shares of Merck & in a report on Tuesday, June 6th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the company. Merck & currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $69.58.

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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