Regal Investment Advisors LLC raised its stake in Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) by 4.2% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor owned 5,536 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 224 shares during the period. Regal Investment Advisors LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co. were worth $319,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also modified their holdings of MRK. First Financial Bank N.A. Trust Division boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 1.2% in the first quarter. First Financial Bank N.A. Trust Division now owns 115,728 shares of the company’s stock valued at $6,123,000 after buying an additional 1,402 shares in the last quarter. Fulton Bank N.A. boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 4.3% in the first quarter. Fulton Bank N.A. now owns 102,103 shares of the company’s stock valued at $5,402,000 after buying an additional 4,228 shares in the last quarter. Chevy Chase Trust Holdings Inc. boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 2.0% in the first quarter. Chevy Chase Trust Holdings Inc. now owns 2,800,190 shares of the company’s stock valued at $148,158,000 after buying an additional 55,212 shares in the last quarter. Iowa State Bank boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 0.4% in the first quarter. Iowa State Bank now owns 43,591 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,306,000 after buying an additional 167 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Rathbone Brothers plc boosted its position in shares of Merck & Co. by 0.4% in the first quarter. Rathbone Brothers plc now owns 55,564 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,940,000 after buying an additional 245 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.92% of the company’s stock.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded up 1.23% during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $62.70. 7,198,436 shares of the stock were exchanged. Merck & Co. has a 52-week low of $47.97 and a 52-week high of $64.00. The stock has a market cap of $173.38 billion, a PE ratio of 34.39 and a beta of 0.63. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $62.42 and its 200 day moving average is $57.54.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 29th. The company reported $0.93 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.02. The firm had revenue of $9.84 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.79 billion. Merck & Co. had a net margin of 13.01% and a return on equity of 23.41%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up .6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.86 earnings per share. Analysts forecast that Merck & Co. will post $3.75 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 7th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, September 15th will be paid a $0.46 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.93%. Merck & Co.’s payout ratio is currently 101.10%.

Several research analysts have recently weighed in on MRK shares. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reiterated a “neutral” rating and set a $60.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Wednesday, June 8th. Argus reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Thursday, June 9th. Jefferies Group dropped their price target on shares of Merck & Co. from $54.00 to $53.00 and set a “hold” rating on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, June 14th. BMO Capital Markets reiterated an “outperform” rating and set a $62.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Tuesday, June 28th. Finally, Vetr upgraded shares of Merck & Co. from a “sell” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $62.26 price target on the stock in a research note on Monday, July 4th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have given a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of €63.31 ($70.34).

In related news, CEO Kenneth C. Frazier sold 60,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, July 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of €58.00 ($64.44), for a total transaction of €3,480,000.00 ($3,866,666.67). Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 554,856 shares in the company, valued at €32,181,648 ($35,757,386.67). The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Chairman Kenneth C. Frazier sold 392,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, August 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of €61.81 ($68.68), for a total transaction of €24,229,520.00 ($26,921,688.89). Following the sale, the chairman now owns 760,877 shares in the company, valued at approximately €47,029,807.37 ($52,255,341.52). The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.05% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Merck & Co. 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, which it markets directly and through its joint ventures. It operates through one segment, Pharmaceutical. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:MRK

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