Investment Centers of America Inc. lessened its position in shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 20.8% during the 1st quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The firm owned 70,224 shares of the company’s stock after selling 18,412 shares during the quarter. Investment Centers of America Inc.’s holdings in Merck & were worth $4,451,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in MRK. Vigilant Capital Management LLC grew its position in Merck & by 16.7% during the first quarter. Vigilant Capital Management LLC now owns 1,746 shares of the company’s stock valued at $111,000 after buying an additional 250 shares during the period. Gradient Investments LLC lifted its holdings in Merck & by 41.3% during 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 in the last quarter. Pinnacle Bank purchased a new position in Merck & during the first quarter valued at $152,000. Dillon & Associates Inc. purchased a new position in Merck & during the first quarter valued at $206,000. Finally, Stokes & Hubbell Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in Merck & during the first quarter valued at $213,000. Institutional investors own 73.02% of the company’s stock.

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Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE MRK) traded down 0.08% during midday trading on Friday, reaching $64.27. 7,365,817 shares of the company traded hands. Merck & Company, Inc. has a 12 month low of $58.29 and a 12 month high of $66.80. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $62.97 and its 200 day moving average price is $63.73. The firm has a market capitalization of $175.29 billion, a PE ratio of 34.80 and a beta of 0.81.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last released its earnings results on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.14. The company 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 firm’s quarterly revenue was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.93 EPS. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.88 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 6th. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 15th will be issued a $0.47 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 14th. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.93%. Merck &’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 76.11%.

Several research firms have issued reports on MRK. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Merck & from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 19th. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and set a $73.00 price objective (down from $74.00) on shares of Merck & in a report on Monday, July 24th. Citigroup Inc. set a $65.00 price objective on shares of Merck & and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 5th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Merck & from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, May 25th. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a “sell” rating and set a $51.00 price objective on shares of Merck & in a report on Wednesday, May 24th. 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 company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $69.56.

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.

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

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