Cannell Peter B & Co. Inc. grew its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 29.0% in the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor owned 278,945 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 62,675 shares during the quarter. Cannell Peter B & Co. Inc.’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $16,932,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also modified their holdings of the company. Clearwater Capital Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the first quarter worth about $103,000. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. increased its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 208.4% during the first quarter. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. now owns 1,983 shares of the company’s stock worth $108,000 after purchasing an additional 1,340 shares during the last quarter. Taylor Wealth Management Partners acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the second quarter worth about $110,000. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV increased its position in Merck & Co., Inc. by 155.2% during the second quarter. Creative Financial Designs Inc. ADV now owns 1,832 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after purchasing an additional 1,114 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Well Done LLC acquired a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. during the first quarter worth about $115,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.19% of the company’s stock.

Shares of MRK opened at $69.98 on Friday. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $52.83 and a 1-year high of $70.94. The stock has a market cap of $188.36 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.58, a P/E/G ratio of 2.41 and a beta of 0.81. The company has a quick ratio of 1.04, a current ratio of 1.33 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 27th. The company reported $1.06 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.03 by $0.03. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 3.67% and a return on equity of 32.68%. The business had revenue of $10.47 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.28 billion. During the same period last year, the business earned $1.01 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.4% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts predict that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.27 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 5th. Stockholders of record on Monday, September 17th will be paid a $0.48 dividend. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.74%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, September 14th. Merck & Co., Inc.’s payout ratio is 48.24%.

In other news, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 134,094 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, June 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.00, for a total value of $8,179,734.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 100,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $6,100,000. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, VP Rita A. Karachun sold 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.01, for a total transaction of $325,050.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 396,393 shares of company stock valued at $25,235,061. Insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

MRK has been the subject of several recent analyst reports. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $69.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Thursday, June 7th. TheStreet upgraded shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a research report on Friday, June 8th. Jefferies Financial Group reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $59.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Sunday, July 15th. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $70.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research report on Sunday, July 22nd. Finally, Bank of America lifted their price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $74.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, July 30th. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $67.93.

Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates in four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, asthma, nasal allergy symptoms, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, fungal, intra-abdominal infections, hypertension, arthritis and pain, inflammatory, osteoporosis, and fertility diseases.

Featured Article: Understanding Analyst Ratings

Want to see what other hedge funds are holding MRK? Visit HoldingsChannel.com to get the latest 13F filings and insider trades for Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK).

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

Receive News & Ratings for Merck & Co. Inc. Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Merck & Co. Inc. and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.