Hexavest Inc. reduced its holdings in Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 4.4% during the 2nd quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 1,491,631 shares of the company’s stock after selling 69,167 shares during the period. Merck & comprises 1.2% of Hexavest Inc.’s holdings, making the stock its 14th largest position. Hexavest Inc. owned about 0.05% of Merck & worth $95,599,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds have also modified their holdings of MRK. Vigilant Capital Management LLC grew its holdings in Merck & by 16.7% in the first quarter. Vigilant Capital Management LLC now owns 1,746 shares of the company’s stock valued at $111,000 after purchasing an additional 250 shares during the period. Harbour Capital Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in Merck & in the first quarter valued at approximately $127,000. Pinnacle Bank acquired a new stake in Merck & in the first quarter valued at approximately $152,000. Dillon & Associates Inc. acquired a new stake in Merck & in the first quarter valued at approximately $206,000. Finally, Stokes & Hubbell Capital Management LLC acquired a new stake in Merck & in the first quarter valued at approximately $213,000. 72.91% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (MRK) traded down 0.189% during trading on Tuesday, reaching $65.865. The company had a trading volume of 2,244,481 shares. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $63.46 and its 200 day moving average price is $63.69. The firm has a market capitalization of $179.64 billion, a P/E ratio of 35.661 and a beta of 0.81. Merck & Company, Inc. has a 12 month low of $58.29 and a 12 month high of $66.80.

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

The business 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 dividend of $0.47 per share. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.85%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 14th. Merck &’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 76.11%.

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MRK has been the topic of several research analyst reports. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a “sell” rating and issued a $51.00 price objective on shares of Merck & in a report on Wednesday, May 24th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Merck & from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, May 25th. BMO Capital Markets reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $74.00 price objective on shares of Merck & in a report on Tuesday, June 6th. Credit Suisse Group set a $72.00 price objective on Merck & and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, June 6th. Finally, BidaskClub raised Merck & from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, June 22nd. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and twelve have issued a buy rating to the stock. Merck & presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $70.00.

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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