Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) announced a quarterly dividend on Tuesday, November 22nd. Shareholders of record on Thursday, December 15th will be given a dividend of 0.47 per share on Monday, January 9th. This represents a $1.88 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.02%. This is a boost from Merck & Co.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.46.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded down 1.217% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $61.542. 5,682,236 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The stock has a market capitalization of $169.68 billion, a PE ratio of 31.431 and a beta of 0.76. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $61.73 and its 200-day moving average is $59.89. Merck & Co. has a 52 week low of $47.97 and a 52 week high of $65.46.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 25th. The company reported $1.07 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.99 by $0.08. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 24.25% and a net margin of 13.76%. The firm earned $10.50 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.17 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.96 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.6% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Merck & Co. will post $3.78 EPS for the current year.

Dividend History for Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK)

Several equities analysts have issued reports on the company. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $73.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Friday, November 11th. Vetr downgraded Merck & Co. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $64.84 price objective for the company. in a research report on Monday, October 10th. Piper Jaffray Cos. reiterated a “neutral” rating and issued a $62.00 price objective (up previously from $58.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Monday, August 8th. Deutsche Bank AG lifted their price objective on Merck & Co. from $58.00 to $59.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, August 8th. Finally, Jefferies Group lifted their price objective on Merck & Co. from $53.00 to $57.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, August 8th. Thirteen investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Merck & Co. has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $66.30.

In related news, Director Rochelle B. Lazarus sold 20,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $59.06, for a total transaction of $1,181,200.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 9,594 shares in the company, valued at $566,621.64. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, insider Weir Mirian M. Graddick sold 40,800 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $62.07, for a total value of $2,532,456.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 128,973 shares in the company, valued at approximately $8,005,354.11. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in MRK. Frontier Wealth Management LLC raised its stake in Merck & Co. by 4.1% in the second quarter. Frontier Wealth Management LLC now owns 23,975 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,381,000 after buying an additional 938 shares during the last quarter. Reliance Trust Co. of Delaware raised its stake in Merck & Co. by 1.7% in the second quarter. Reliance Trust Co. of Delaware now owns 235,003 shares of the company’s stock valued at $13,538,000 after buying an additional 3,907 shares in the last quarter. Burney Co. raised its stake in Merck & Co. by 14.0% in the second quarter. Burney Co. now owns 16,522 shares of the company’s stock valued at $952,000 after buying an additional 2,035 shares in the last quarter. Progressive Investment Management Corp raised its stake in Merck & Co. by 3.2% in the second quarter. Progressive Investment Management Corp now owns 10,256 shares of the company’s stock valued at $591,000 after buying an additional 318 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Beaumont Financial Partners LLC raised its stake in Merck & Co. by 32.3% in the second quarter. Beaumont Financial Partners LLC now owns 74,120 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,270,000 after buying an additional 18,113 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 73.25% 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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