Macquarie Group Ltd. trimmed its position in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.6% during the 1st quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The firm owned 12,543,744 shares of the company’s stock after selling 209,905 shares during the period. Merck & Co. accounts for 1.4% of Macquarie Group Ltd.’s portfolio, making the stock its 16th biggest position. Macquarie Group Ltd. owned approximately 0.46% of Merck & Co. worth $797,029,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other hedge funds have also recently modified their holdings of the company. Vigilant Capital Management LLC grew its stake in Merck & Co. by 16.7% in the first quarter. Vigilant Capital Management LLC now owns 1,746 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after purchasing an additional 250 shares during the period. Harbour Capital Advisors LLC bought a new stake in Merck & Co. in the first quarter worth $127,000. Gradient Investments LLC boosted its holdings in Merck & Co. by 41.3% in the first quarter. Gradient Investments LLC now owns 2,306 shares of the company’s stock worth $147,000 after acquiring an additional 674 shares in the last quarter. Pinnacle Bank bought a new stake in Merck & Co. in the first quarter worth $152,000. Finally, Dillon & Associates Inc. bought a new stake in Merck & Co. in the first quarter worth $206,000. 73.02% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE MRK) traded up 0.560% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $65.495. The company had a trading volume of 3,109,010 shares. The firm has a market capitalization of $178.63 billion, a PE ratio of 35.460 and a beta of 0.81. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $62.98 and its 200 day moving average price is $63.69. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 52 week low of $58.29 and a 52 week high of $66.80.

Merck & Co. (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 Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.14. The firm had revenue of $9.93 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.75 billion. Merck & Co. had a return on equity of 19.69% and a net margin of 19.65%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.93 EPS. On average, equities research analysts predict that Merck & Co., 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 dividend of $0.47 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.89%. Merck & Co.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 76.11%.

MRK has been the topic of several analyst reports. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) reissued a “neutral” rating and issued a $74.00 target price (up from $70.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a report on Thursday, July 27th. Citigroup Inc. set a $65.00 target price on Merck & Co. and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 5th. Zacks Investment Research raised Merck & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $73.00 target price on the stock in a report on Friday, May 26th. BidaskClub downgraded Merck & Co. from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 19th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies set a $70.00 target price on Merck & Co. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Saturday, July 29th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $70.00.

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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. 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 & Co. (NYSE:MRK)

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