Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) have earned a consensus recommendation of “Hold” from the twenty-two research firms that are covering the firm. Thirteen analysts have rated the stock with a hold recommendation and nine have given a buy recommendation to the company. The average 12 month price objective among brokers that have issued a report on the stock in the last year is $65.67.

MRK has been the subject of several recent analyst reports. Argus restated a “buy” rating and set a $80.00 target price (up from $65.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Thursday, October 27th. Vetr raised shares of Merck & Co. from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $65.80 price target on the stock in a research report on Monday, November 7th. Bank of America Corp. raised shares of Merck & Co. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and increased their price target for the stock from $57.00 to $70.00 in a research report on Thursday, October 13th. Berenberg Bank reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $62.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Sunday, September 11th. Finally, Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $65.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a research report on Sunday, October 16th.

Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded down 1.340% during trading on Tuesday, reaching $61.465. The company had a trading volume of 4,959,793 shares. Merck & Co. has a 52-week low of $47.97 and a 52-week high of $65.46. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $61.73 and a 200 day moving average of $59.89. The stock has a market capitalization of $169.47 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 31.392 and a beta of 0.76.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, October 25th. The company reported $1.07 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.99 by $0.08. The company earned $10.50 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.17 billion. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 24.25% and a net margin of 13.76%. The company’s revenue was up 4.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.96 earnings per share. Equities research analysts forecast that Merck & Co. will post $3.78 EPS for the current year.

In other Merck & Co. news, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 140,000 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.03, for a total transaction of $9,104,200.00. Following the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 514,957 shares in the company, valued at approximately $33,487,653.71. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 39,200 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, September 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $62.61, for a total transaction of $2,454,312.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 39,200 shares in the company, valued at $2,454,312. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.05% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Solaris Asset Management LLC raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 3.8% in the third quarter. Solaris Asset Management LLC now owns 1,635 shares of the company’s stock worth $102,000 after buying an additional 60 shares during the period. Acrospire Investment Management LLC raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 5.9% in the second quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 1,800 shares of the company’s stock worth $104,000 after buying an additional 100 shares during the period. Roble Belko & Company Inc raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 124.7% in the second quarter. Roble Belko & Company Inc now owns 1,802 shares of the company’s stock worth $104,000 after buying an additional 1,000 shares during the period. Nelson Van Denburg & Campbell Wealth Management Group LLC raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 1.8% in the third quarter. Nelson Van Denburg & Campbell Wealth Management Group LLC now owns 1,711 shares of the company’s stock worth $106,000 after buying an additional 30 shares during the period. Finally, Blume Capital Management Inc. raised its stake in shares of Merck & Co. by 14.0% in the third quarter. Blume Capital Management Inc. now owns 1,710 shares of the company’s stock worth $107,000 after buying an additional 210 shares during the period. 73.25% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Merck & Co.

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.

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