Bank of Nova Scotia boosted its stake in shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 183.7% during the first quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The firm owned 1,200,139 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 777,044 shares during the period. Bank of Nova Scotia’s holdings in Merck & were worth $76,255,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

Other hedge funds have also recently bought and sold shares of the company. 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 during the period. Harbour Capital Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in Merck & during the first quarter valued at $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 during the period. Pinnacle Bank purchased a new stake in Merck & during the first quarter valued at $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 during the period. 73.46% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE MRK) traded up 0.27% during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $62.84. 889,150 shares of the stock were exchanged. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $63.26 and a 200 day moving average of $63.85. Merck & Company, Inc. has a 12-month low of $58.29 and a 12-month high of $66.80. The firm has a market cap of $171.39 billion, a P/E ratio of 34.02 and a beta of 0.80.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last posted its earnings results on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 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 business had revenue of $9.93 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.75 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.93 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts forecast that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.87 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 6th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 15th will be given a dividend of $0.47 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.00%. Merck &’s payout ratio is currently 76.11%.

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Several equities analysts have recently commented on the stock. Credit Suisse Group set a $72.00 price objective on shares of Merck & and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, June 6th. BidaskClub lowered shares of Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, July 11th. BMO Capital Markets restated an “outperform” rating and issued a $70.00 price objective on shares of Merck & in a report on Sunday, April 23rd. Vetr lowered shares of Merck & from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $69.99 price objective on the stock. in a report on Wednesday, May 17th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Wednesday, May 10th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $69.58.

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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