State Street Corp lowered its position in shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 1.7% during the first quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The fund owned 123,067,605 shares of the company’s stock after selling 2,078,725 shares during the period. Merck & comprises about 0.7% of State Street Corp’s holdings, making the stock its 24th largest position. State Street Corp’s holdings in Merck & were worth $7,820,092,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Vigilant Capital Management LLC raised its position in Merck & by 16.7% in the first quarter. Vigilant Capital Management LLC now owns 1,746 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after buying an additional 250 shares during the last quarter. Gradient Investments LLC raised its position in Merck & by 41.3% in the first quarter. Gradient Investments LLC now owns 2,306 shares of the company’s stock worth $147,000 after buying an additional 674 shares during the last quarter. Pinnacle Bank bought a new position in Merck & during the first quarter worth $152,000. Tortoise Investment Management LLC raised its position in shares of 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 last quarter. Finally, Thomas J. Herzfeld Advisors Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Merck & during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $159,000. 73.73% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) traded up 0.32% during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $62.38. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 6,050,985 shares. Merck & Company, Inc. has a 52-week low of $58.29 and a 52-week high of $66.80. The company has a market cap of $170.13 billion, a PE ratio of 33.77 and a beta of 0.80. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $63.36 and a 200 day moving average price of $63.80.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.14. The firm had revenue of $9.93 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $9.75 billion. Merck & had a return on equity of 26.02% and a net margin of 17.14%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.93 EPS. Equities analysts expect that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.87 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced 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 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.01%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 14th. Merck &’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 76.11%.

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Several brokerages have recently commented on MRK. HSBC Holdings plc raised Merck & from a “reduce” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday. BidaskClub lowered Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday. UBS AG boosted their price objective on Merck & from $70.00 to $72.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, July 31st. Zacks Investment Research lowered Merck & from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 2nd. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reissued a “buy” rating and set a $74.00 price objective on shares of Merck & in a report on Tuesday, June 6th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target 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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