Stevens Capital Management LP bought a new position in shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) in the first quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The fund bought 238,055 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $15,126,000.

Other hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Vigilant Capital Management LLC raised its position in shares of Merck & by 16.7% during the first quarter. Vigilant Capital Management LLC now owns 1,746 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after acquiring an additional 250 shares during the last quarter. Gradient Investments LLC increased its holdings in Merck & by 41.3% in the first quarter. Gradient Investments LLC now owns 2,306 shares of the company’s stock valued at $147,000 after purchasing an additional 674 shares during the last quarter. Pinnacle Bank bought a new stake in Merck & in the first quarter valued at about $152,000. Dillon & Associates Inc. bought a new stake in Merck & in the first quarter valued at about $206,000. Finally, Stokes & Hubbell Capital Management LLC bought a new stake in Merck & in the first quarter valued at about $213,000. Institutional investors own 73.02% of the company’s stock.

MRK has been the subject of a number of recent analyst reports. Jefferies Group LLC reiterated an “underperform” rating and issued a $51.00 price objective on shares of Merck & in a report on Monday, May 8th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 price objective for the company in a report on Wednesday, May 10th. Cowen and Company reiterated a “market perform” rating and issued a $70.00 price objective (up previously from $68.00) on shares of Merck & in a report on Thursday, May 11th. BMO Capital Markets upped their price objective on Merck & from $68.00 to $70.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Thursday, May 11th. Finally, J P Morgan Chase & Co upped their price objective on Merck & from $74.00 to $76.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Thursday, May 11th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Merck & presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $69.74.

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Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) traded down 0.05% on Monday, hitting $63.83. The stock had a trading volume of 6,185,056 shares. Merck & Company, Inc. has a 52 week low of $58.29 and a 52 week high of $66.80. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $62.82 and a 200-day moving average price of $63.76. The stock has a market capitalization of $174.09 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 34.56 and a beta of 0.81.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.14. Merck & had a return on equity of 26.02% and a net margin of 17.14%. The firm had revenue of $9.93 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.75 billion. During the same period last year, the company posted $0.93 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts anticipate that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.88 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 6th. Investors of record on Friday, September 15th will be given a $0.47 dividend. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.95%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. Merck &’s payout ratio is 76.11%.

Merck & 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. 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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