Bollard Group LLC increased its stake in Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.2% during the second quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 87,263 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 1,026 shares during the period. Bollard Group LLC’s holdings in Merck & were worth $5,593,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other large investors also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Norges Bank bought a new stake in Merck & during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $1,628,824,000. Dodge & Cox bought a new stake in Merck & during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $821,068,000. DZ BANK AG Deutsche Zentral Genossenschafts Bank Frankfurt am Main bought a new stake in Merck & during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $252,822,000. Bank of Montreal Can increased its stake in Merck & by 49.7% in the first quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 8,991,093 shares of the company’s stock valued at $571,295,000 after buying an additional 2,983,319 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board increased its stake in Merck & by 70.4% in the first quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 5,568,791 shares of the company’s stock valued at $353,841,000 after buying an additional 2,300,200 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 73.73% of the company’s stock.

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 traded hands. Merck & Company, Inc. has a 52-week low of $58.29 and a 52-week high of $66.80. The firm has a market cap of $170.13 billion, a PE ratio of 33.77 and a beta of 0.80. The company’s 50 day moving average is $63.36 and its 200 day moving average is $63.80.

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

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

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Several equities research analysts have recently commented on MRK shares. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Wednesday, May 10th. J P Morgan Chase & Co boosted their target price on shares of Merck & from $74.00 to $76.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Thursday, May 11th. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 11th. BMO Capital Markets boosted their target price on shares of Merck & from $68.00 to $70.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Thursday, May 11th. Finally, Vetr upgraded shares of Merck & from a “sell” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $71.50 target price for the company in a research report on Monday, May 15th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and twelve have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average 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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