Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) Stake Increased by Russell Investments Group Ltd.

Russell Investments Group Ltd. boosted its position in Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 2.6% in the 2nd quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 4,206,648 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 107,201 shares during the period. Merck & makes up approximately 0.5% of Russell Investments Group Ltd.’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 26th biggest holding. Russell Investments Group Ltd. owned approximately 0.15% of Merck & worth $269,678,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently made changes to their positions in MRK. Vigilant Capital Management LLC lifted 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 purchasing an additional 250 shares during the last quarter. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. increased its position in shares of Merck & by 15.5% during the second quarter. Cascade Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 1,727 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after acquiring an additional 232 shares during the period. Harbour Capital Advisors LLC purchased a new position in shares of Merck & during the first quarter worth approximately $127,000. Gradient Investments LLC increased its position in shares of Merck & by 41.3% during the first quarter. Gradient Investments LLC now owns 2,306 shares of the company’s stock worth $147,000 after acquiring an additional 674 shares during the period. Finally, Pinnacle Bank purchased a new position in shares of Merck & during the first quarter worth approximately $152,000. 73.02% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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Merck & Company, Inc. (NYSE:MRK) traded up 0.06% during midday trading on Friday, hitting $66.16. 14,685,767 shares of the stock traded hands. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $63.41 and a 200 day moving average price of $63.72. Merck & Company, Inc. has a one year low of $58.29 and a one year high of $66.80. The stock has a market cap of $180.44 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 35.76 and a beta of 0.81.

Merck & (NYSE:MRK) last posted its earnings results on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $1.01 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.14. The firm had revenue of $9.93 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.75 billion. Merck & had a net margin of 17.14% and a return on equity of 26.02%. The company’s revenue was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.93 EPS. Equities research analysts anticipate 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. Investors of record on Friday, September 15th will be given a $0.47 dividend. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.84%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. Merck &’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 76.11%.

Several equities analysts recently issued reports on MRK shares. BMO Capital Markets reissued a “buy” rating and set a $74.00 price objective on shares of Merck & in a report on Tuesday, June 27th. BidaskClub raised shares of Merck & from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, June 22nd. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of 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. Credit Suisse Group set a $72.00 price objective on shares of Merck & and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, June 6th. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC reissued a “sell” rating and set a $51.00 price objective on shares of Merck & in a report on Wednesday, May 24th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Merck & currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $70.00.

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.

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

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