Achmea Investment Management B.V. purchased a new stake in shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) during the first quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The fund purchased 446,394 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $28,364,000. Merck & makes up about 1.3% of Achmea Investment Management B.V.’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 12th largest position.

Several other large investors also recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Vigilant Capital Management LLC boosted its stake 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 buying an additional 250 shares in the last quarter. Harbour Capital Advisors LLC bought a new stake in Merck & during the first quarter valued at approximately $127,000. Gradient Investments LLC boosted its stake in Merck & by 41.3% in the first quarter. Gradient Investments LLC now owns 2,306 shares of the company’s stock valued at $147,000 after buying an additional 674 shares in the last quarter. Pinnacle Bank bought a new stake in Merck & during the first quarter valued at approximately $152,000. Finally, Tortoise Investment Management LLC boosted its stake in Merck & by 50.6% in the fourth quarter. Tortoise Investment Management LLC now owns 2,678 shares of the company’s stock valued at $158,000 after buying an additional 900 shares in the last quarter. 73.46% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE MRK) traded up 0.584% on Wednesday, hitting $62.865. The stock had a trading volume of 1,286,446 shares. Merck & Company, Inc. has a one year low of $58.29 and a one year high of $66.80. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $63.16 and its 200 day moving average price is $63.86. The firm has a market cap of $171.46 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 34.036 and a beta of 0.80.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.14. The company had revenue of $9.93 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.75 billion. Merck & had a return on equity of 26.02% and a net margin of 17.14%. Merck &’s revenue was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.93 EPS. Analysts expect 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. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 15th will be issued a $0.47 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. This represents a $1.88 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.01%. Merck &’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 76.11%.

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Several research firms recently commented on MRK. BidaskClub cut Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 9th. HSBC Holdings plc raised Merck & from a “reduce” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 9th. UBS AG increased their price target on Merck & from $70.00 to $72.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, July 31st. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $74.00 price target on shares of Merck & in a report on Tuesday, June 6th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and issued a $74.00 price target (up previously from $70.00) on shares of Merck & in a report on Thursday, July 27th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and twelve have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $69.58.

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.

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

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