Iowa State Bank grew its stake in Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 3.0% in the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 50,721 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 1,472 shares during the quarter. Iowa State Bank’s holdings in Merck & were worth $3,251,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently modified their holdings of the company. Boston Partners lifted its stake in shares of Merck & by 2.6% in the 1st 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 grew its stake in Merck & by 0.6% in the first quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC now owns 13,414,669 shares of the company’s stock worth $852,368,000 after purchasing an additional 77,344 shares during the period. Sanders Capital LLC grew its stake in Merck & by 3.3% in the first quarter. Sanders Capital LLC now owns 11,593,645 shares of the company’s stock worth $752,482,000 after purchasing an additional 365,276 shares during the period. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. grew its stake 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 worth $624,064,000 after purchasing an additional 41,748 shares during the period. Finally, Bank of Montreal Can grew its stake in Merck & by 8.1% in the second quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 9,723,813 shares of the company’s stock worth $623,199,000 after purchasing an additional 732,720 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.92% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) traded up 0.30% during trading on Wednesday, reaching $64.56. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 2,744,600 shares. Merck & Company, Inc. has a 12-month low of $58.29 and a 12-month high of $66.80. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $64.08 and its 200-day moving average is $63.67. The stock has a market capitalization of $176.08 billion, a PE ratio of 34.95 and a beta of 0.80.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates 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 analyst estimates of $9.75 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.93 EPS. Merck &’s revenue for the quarter was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts expect that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.87 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed 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 2.92%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. Merck &’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 76.11%.

Several equities analysts have commented on MRK shares. BMO Capital Markets reissued an “outperform” rating and set a $73.00 price objective (down previously from $74.00) on shares of Merck & in a research report on Monday, July 24th. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Merck & from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 19th. Citigroup Inc. set a $65.00 target price on shares of Merck & and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 5th. HSBC Holdings plc upgraded shares of Merck & from a “reduce” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 9th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Merck & from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, June 12th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $70.00.

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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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