Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. decreased its stake in Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 0.4% during the first quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The fund owned 294,404 shares of the company’s stock after selling 1,286 shares during the period. Oppenheimer & Co. Inc.’s holdings in Merck & were worth $18,706,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

A number of other hedge funds also recently bought and sold shares of MRK. Norges Bank bought a new stake in Merck & during the fourth quarter valued at about $1,628,824,000. Boston Partners increased its stake in Merck & by 2.6% in the first quarter. Boston Partners now owns 19,935,016 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,266,671,000 after buying an additional 500,476 shares during the last quarter. Dodge & Cox bought a new stake in Merck & during the fourth quarter valued at about $821,068,000. Macquarie Group Ltd. increased its stake in Merck & by 4.1% in the fourth quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 12,753,649 shares of the company’s stock valued at $750,807,000 after buying an additional 506,952 shares during the last quarter. Finally, PNC Financial Services Group Inc. increased 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 valued at $624,064,000 after buying an additional 41,748 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.73% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (MRK) traded up 0.93% during midday trading on Friday, reaching $62.76. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 2,077,383 shares. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $63.46 and a 200-day moving average price of $63.80. 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 $171.17 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 33.98 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 for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.14. The firm had revenue of $9.93 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.75 billion. Merck & had a return on equity of 26.02% and a net margin of 17.14%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.93 EPS. Equities analysts expect that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.87 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 6th. Investors of record on Friday, September 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.47 per share. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.02%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 14th. Merck &’s payout ratio is presently 76.11%.

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MRK has been the topic of several recent analyst reports. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) restated a “neutral” rating and set a $74.00 price objective (up previously from $70.00) on shares of Merck & in a report on Thursday, July 27th. Citigroup Inc. set a $65.00 price objective on Merck & and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 5th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $73.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Friday, May 26th. BidaskClub downgraded Merck & from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 19th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies set a $70.00 price objective on Merck & and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Saturday, July 29th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $69.80.

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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