Sfmg LLC raised its position in shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 4.9% during the first quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the SEC. The fund owned 21,582 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 1,011 shares during the period. Sfmg LLC’s holdings in Merck & were worth $1,371,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other hedge funds have also bought and sold shares of MRK. Bank of Montreal Can boosted its stake in Merck & by 49.7% in the first quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 8,991,093 shares of the company’s stock worth $571,295,000 after buying an additional 2,983,319 shares in the last quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board boosted its stake in Merck & by 70.4% in the first quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 5,568,791 shares of the company’s stock worth $353,841,000 after buying an additional 2,300,200 shares in the last quarter. Columbus Circle Investors boosted 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 worth $85,483,000 after buying an additional 1,131,452 shares in the last quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. boosted its stake in Merck & by 4.1% in the fourth quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 12,753,649 shares of the company’s stock worth $750,807,000 after buying an additional 506,952 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Russell Investments Group Ltd. boosted its stake in Merck & by 8.3% in the first quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. now owns 4,099,447 shares of the company’s stock worth $260,569,000 after buying an additional 315,903 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 73.46% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (MRK) traded up 0.37% during trading on Friday, reaching $62.94. The company had a trading volume of 5,274,946 shares. Merck & Company, Inc. has a 52-week low of $58.29 and a 52-week high of $66.80. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $62.73 and a 200 day moving average of $63.80. The stock has a market capitalization of $171.66 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 34.08 and a beta of 0.80. Merck & also was the recipient of some unusual options trading activity on Thursday. Stock traders bought 9,893 call options on the company. This represents an increase of 143% compared to the average volume of 4,067 call options.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.14. The firm had revenue of $9.93 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.75 billion. Merck & had a net margin of 17.14% and a return on equity of 26.02%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.93 earnings per share. Equities research analysts forecast that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.87 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 6th. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 15th will be given a $0.47 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.99%. Merck &’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 76.11%.

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A number of analysts have recently commented on the company. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, May 10th. J P Morgan Chase & Co lifted their target price on Merck & from $74.00 to $76.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research report on Thursday, May 11th. BidaskClub cut Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 11th. BMO Capital Markets lifted their target price on Merck & from $68.00 to $70.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Thursday, May 11th. Finally, Vetr upgraded Merck & from a “sell” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $71.50 target price on the stock in a research report on Monday, May 15th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and twelve have issued a buy rating to the company. Merck & currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $69.63.

About Merck &

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.

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

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