Vetr cut shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Monday. Vetr currently has $64.84 price objective on the stock.

Several other research firms have also recently commented on MRK. Barclays PLC boosted their target price on Merck & Co. from $66.00 to $72.00 and gave the company an overweight rating in a research note on Friday, September 9th. Jefferies Group upped their price objective on Merck & Co. from $53.00 to $57.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Monday, August 8th. Sanford C. Bernstein reiterated an outperform rating and set a $74.00 price objective (up previously from $66.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Thursday, August 11th. Morgan Stanley set a $60.00 price objective on Merck & Co. and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday, September 13th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets upgraded Merck & Co. from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and upped their price objective for the stock from $62.00 to $72.00 in a research note on Friday, August 5th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have issued a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co. has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of €63.37 ($70.41).

Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded down 1.6859% during midday trading on Monday, hitting $62.8227. 2,842,384 shares of the stock traded hands. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $62.68 and its 200 day moving average price is $58.56. Merck & Co. has a 12-month low of $47.97 and a 12-month high of $64.86. The company has a market capitalization of $173.72 billion, a PE ratio of 34.4612 and a beta of 0.68.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last released its earnings results on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. The firm had revenue of $9.84 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.79 billion. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 23.41% and a net margin of 13.01%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.86 EPS. Analysts expect that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 7th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, September 15th were issued a dividend of $0.46 per share. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.88%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, September 13th. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 101.10%.

In related news, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 39,200 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of €62.61 ($69.57), for a total transaction of €2,454,312.00 ($2,727,013.33). Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 39,200 shares in the company, valued at approximately €2,454,312 ($2,727,013.33). The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, October 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of €62.07 ($68.97), for a total value of €2,532,456.00 ($2,813,840.00). Following the sale, the insider now owns 128,973 shares of the company’s stock, valued at €8,005,354.11 ($8,894,837.90). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Advisory Services Network LLC increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 112.3% in the third quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 40,322 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,516,000 after buying an additional 21,328 shares in the last quarter. Nadler Financial Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 3.7% in the third quarter. Nadler Financial Group Inc. now owns 10,104 shares of the company’s stock valued at $631,000 after buying an additional 357 shares in the last quarter. Sadoff Investment Management LLC increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 3.4% in the third quarter. Sadoff Investment Management LLC now owns 4,245 shares of the company’s stock valued at $265,000 after buying an additional 140 shares in the last quarter. Stokes & Hubbell Capital Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Merck & Co. during the third quarter valued at $208,000. Finally, First Mercantile Trust Co. increased its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 4.7% in the third quarter. First Mercantile Trust Co. now owns 86,136 shares of the company’s stock valued at $5,369,000 after buying an additional 3,876 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.93% of the company’s stock.

Merck & Co. 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, which it markets directly and through its joint ventures. It operates through one segment, Pharmaceutical. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:MRK

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