Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB trimmed its holdings in shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 5.5% in the 2nd quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 429,140 shares of the company’s stock after selling 24,857 shares during the quarter. Merck & accounts for approximately 0.8% of Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 24th largest holding. Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB’s holdings in Merck & were worth $27,504,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other large investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board raised its holdings in shares of 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 acquiring an additional 2,300,200 shares in the last quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC grew its stake in Merck & by 23.7% in the first quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 8,146,594 shares of the company’s stock valued at $517,635,000 after purchasing an additional 1,561,853 shares during the last quarter. Karp Capital Management Corp purchased a new position in Merck & in the first quarter valued at about $94,200,000. Columbus Circle Investors grew its stake in Merck & by 529.0% in the first quarter. Columbus Circle Investors now owns 1,345,334 shares of the company’s stock valued at $85,483,000 after purchasing an additional 1,131,452 shares during the last quarter. Finally, CIBC World Markets Inc. grew its stake in Merck & by 536.0% in the first quarter. CIBC World Markets Inc. now owns 1,290,373 shares of the company’s stock valued at $81,990,000 after purchasing an additional 1,087,497 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 73.02% of the company’s stock.

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Several research firms have issued reports on MRK. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $74.00 target price on shares of Merck & in a research note on Tuesday, June 27th. BidaskClub upgraded Merck & from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, June 22nd. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $73.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Friday, May 26th. Credit Suisse Group set a $72.00 target price on Merck & and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, June 6th. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC reissued a “sell” rating and issued a $51.00 price target on shares of Merck & in a report on Wednesday, May 24th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $70.00.

Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) traded up 0.06% during trading on Friday, hitting $66.16. The stock had a trading volume of 14,685,767 shares. Merck & Company, Inc. has a 1-year low of $58.29 and a 1-year high of $66.80. The stock has a market cap of $180.44 billion, a PE ratio of 35.82 and a beta of 0.81. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $63.41 and its 200-day moving average price is $63.72.

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 the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.14. The company had revenue of $9.93 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.75 billion. Merck & had a return on equity of 26.02% 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 quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.93 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts predict that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.87 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company 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. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. This represents a $1.88 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.84%. Merck &’s dividend payout ratio is 76.11%.

Merck & 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.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Merck & (NYSE:MRK)

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