Trust Co. of Vermont lessened its position in shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 0.1% during the 2nd quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the SEC. The firm owned 92,493 shares of the company’s stock after selling 53 shares during the quarter. Trust Co. of Vermont’s holdings in Merck & were worth $5,928,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Boston Partners raised its position in Merck & by 2.6% in the first quarter. Boston Partners now owns 19,935,016 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,266,671,000 after purchasing an additional 500,476 shares during the period. Clearbridge Investments LLC raised its position in Merck & by 0.6% in the first quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC now owns 13,414,669 shares of the company’s stock valued at $852,368,000 after purchasing an additional 77,344 shares during the period. Sanders Capital LLC raised its position in Merck & by 3.3% in the first quarter. Sanders Capital LLC now owns 11,593,645 shares of the company’s stock valued at $752,482,000 after purchasing an additional 365,276 shares during the period. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. raised its position in Merck & by 0.4% in the first quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. now owns 9,821,563 shares of the company’s stock valued at $624,064,000 after purchasing an additional 41,748 shares during the period. Finally, Bank of Montreal Can raised its position in Merck & by 8.1% in the second quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 9,723,813 shares of the company’s stock valued at $623,199,000 after purchasing an additional 732,720 shares during the period. 72.91% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

A number of analysts have issued reports on the company. BMO Capital Markets reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $72.00 target price on shares of Merck & in a research report on Friday, September 8th. Credit Suisse Group reissued an “outperform” rating and issued a $74.00 target price (down previously from $75.00) on shares of Merck & in a research report on Tuesday, September 5th. Cowen and Company reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $70.00 target price on shares of Merck & in a research report on Friday, September 1st. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a “sell” rating and issued a $52.00 target price on shares of Merck & in a research report on Sunday, August 20th. Finally, HSBC Holdings plc raised Merck & from a “reduce” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 9th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and twelve have issued a buy rating to the company. Merck & has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $70.00.

Shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (MRK) traded down 0.40% during midday trading on Friday, hitting $64.03. 11,449,603 shares of the stock traded hands. The stock has a market cap of $174.63 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 34.67 and a beta of 0.81. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $63.52 and a 200 day moving average price of $63.68. Merck & Company, Inc. has a one year low of $58.29 and a one year high of $66.80.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last released its earnings results 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 net margin of 17.14% and a return on equity of 26.02%. The company had revenue of $9.93 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.75 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.93 EPS. The company’s revenue was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts anticipate that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.87 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 6th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 15th will be issued a $0.47 dividend. This represents a $1.88 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.94%. 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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Merck & Company 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.

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

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