Buffington Mohr McNeal purchased a new position in Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) in the second quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm purchased 4,168 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $267,000.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently bought and sold shares of the business. Mascoma Wealth Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of Merck & by 8.2% in the second quarter. Mascoma Wealth Management LLC now owns 2,474 shares of the company’s stock worth $159,000 after buying an additional 187 shares during the last quarter. Gemmer Asset Management LLC increased its stake in shares of Merck & by 89.6% in the second quarter. Gemmer Asset Management LLC now owns 12,992 shares of the company’s stock worth $833,000 after acquiring an additional 6,141 shares during the period. St. Johns Investment Management Company LLC increased its stake in shares of Merck & by 3.1% in the second quarter. St. Johns Investment Management Company LLC now owns 18,901 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,211,000 after acquiring an additional 568 shares during the period. Iowa State Bank increased its stake in shares of Merck & by 3.0% in the second quarter. Iowa State Bank now owns 50,721 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,251,000 after acquiring an additional 1,472 shares during the period. Finally, Franklin Street Advisors Inc. NC increased its stake in shares of Merck & by 2.2% in the second quarter. Franklin Street Advisors Inc. NC now owns 123,355 shares of the company’s stock worth $7,906,000 after acquiring an additional 2,675 shares during the period. 72.91% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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A number of research firms have recently weighed in on MRK. BMO Capital Markets set a $70.00 price objective on shares of Merck & and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday. HSBC Holdings plc upgraded shares of Merck & from a “reduce” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 9th. BidaskClub lowered shares of Merck & from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 9th. UBS AG lifted their target price on shares of Merck & from $70.00 to $72.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, July 31st. Finally, Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Merck & from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 2nd. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the company. Merck & has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $70.14.

Shares of Merck & Company, Inc. (MRK) traded down 0.69% on Friday, hitting $63.39. 7,341,381 shares of the company were exchanged. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $64.53 and a 200 day moving average price of $63.70. Merck & Company, Inc. has a 52-week low of $58.29 and a 52-week high of $66.80. The firm has a market cap of $172.89 billion, a P/E ratio of 34.32 and a beta of 0.80.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly 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 return on equity of 26.02% and a net margin of 17.14%. The company had revenue of $9.93 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.75 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $0.93 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts predict that Merck & Company, Inc. will post $3.87 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 6th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 15th were given a dividend of $0.47 per share. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.97%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, September 14th. Merck &’s dividend payout ratio is presently 76.11%.

Merck & 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.

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

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