Investors purchased shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) on weakness during trading hours on Friday. $129.72 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $48.10 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $81.62 million into the stock. Of all equities tracked, Merck & had the 4th highest net in-flow for the day. Merck & traded down ($0.05) for the day and closed at $64.27

Several research firms have commented on MRK. HSBC Holdings plc raised shares of Merck & from a “reduce” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 9th. BidaskClub lowered shares of Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 9th. UBS AG upped 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. Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and issued a $74.00 price target (down from $75.00) on shares of Merck & in a report on Tuesday. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $74.00 price target on shares of Merck & in a report on Tuesday, June 6th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $69.68.

The firm has a 50-day moving average of $62.94 and a 200-day moving average of $63.72. The company has a market capitalization of $175.29 billion, a PE ratio of 34.80 and a beta of 0.81.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last released 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 for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.75 billion. Merck & had a net margin of 17.14% and a return on equity of 26.02%. The firm’s revenue was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.93 earnings per share. Analysts forecast that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.88 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 6th. Investors 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 2.93%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. Merck &’s dividend payout ratio is currently 76.11%.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Stelac Advisory Services LLC acquired a new position in Merck & during the second quarter worth about $104,000. Perennial Advisors LLC raised its position in Merck & by 10.7% during the second quarter. Perennial Advisors LLC now owns 1,626 shares of the company’s stock worth $104,000 after acquiring an additional 157 shares during the last quarter. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. raised its position in Merck & by 15.5% during the second quarter. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 1,727 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after acquiring an additional 232 shares during the last quarter. Vigilant Capital Management LLC raised its position in Merck & by 16.7% during the first quarter. Vigilant Capital Management LLC now owns 1,746 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after acquiring an additional 250 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Solaris Asset Management LLC raised its position in Merck & by 6.3% during the second quarter. Solaris Asset Management LLC now owns 1,940 shares of the company’s stock worth $124,000 after acquiring an additional 115 shares during the last quarter. 73.02% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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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