Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. raised its position in Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 0.2% during the first quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The fund owned 10,978,214 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 21,607 shares during the period. Merck & comprises 0.7% of Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc.’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 24th largest position. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc.’s holdings in Merck & were worth $697,556,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

A number of other hedge funds have also added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Vigilant Capital Management LLC raised 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 worth $111,000 after buying an additional 250 shares during the last quarter. Gradient Investments LLC raised its stake 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 acquired a new stake in Merck & during the first quarter worth $152,000. Tortoise Investment Management LLC raised 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 worth $158,000 after buying an additional 900 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Thomas J. Herzfeld Advisors Inc. acquired a new stake in Merck & during the fourth quarter worth $159,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 73.73% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (MRK) traded down 0.06% on Thursday, reaching $62.45. The company had a trading volume of 1,447,288 shares. Merck & Company, Inc. has a 52 week low of $57.18 and a 52 week high of $66.80. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $63.56 and its 200 day moving average price is $63.81. The firm has a market capitalization of $170.81 billion, a P/E ratio of 33.81 and a beta of 0.80.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last released its earnings results on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.14. Merck & had a net margin of 17.14% and a return on equity of 25.75%. The company had revenue of $9.93 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.75 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.93 EPS. Merck &’s quarterly revenue was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts expect that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.87 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 6th. Investors 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 3.01%. Merck &’s payout ratio is presently 76.11%.

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A number of analysts have weighed in on MRK shares. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, May 10th. Vetr downgraded Merck & from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $69.99 price target on the stock. in a research report on Wednesday, May 17th. BMO Capital Markets reissued a “buy” rating and set a $74.00 price target on shares of Merck & in a research report on Tuesday, June 6th. Credit Suisse Group set a $72.00 price target on Merck & and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, June 6th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies set a $70.00 price target on Merck & and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Saturday, July 29th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Merck & presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $69.80.

In other Merck & news, Director C Robert Kidder sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, May 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $63.54, for a total transaction of $317,700.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 14,317 shares in the company, valued at $909,702.18. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. 0.05% of the stock is owned by insiders.

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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