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Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 10,527 shares of the company’s stock on the open market in a transaction dated Wednesday, May 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $55.91, for a total value of $588,564.57. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded up 1.11% on Wednesday, hitting $56.37. 7,797,701 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. Merck & Co. has a 1-year low of $44.62 and a 1-year high of $59.84. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $56.49 and a 200-day moving average of $52.73. The company has a market cap of $164.7 billion and a P/E ratio of 36.77. Merck & Co. also was the recipient of some unusual options trading activity on Wednesday. Investors bought 28,975 call options on the company. This is an increase of approximately 196% compared to the average daily volume of 9,779 call options.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, April 29th. The company reported $0.88 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $0.79 by $0.09. The company had revenue of $10.30 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.44 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.85 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 3.8% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts expect that Merck & Co. will post $3.47 EPS for the current fiscal year.

A number of research firms have recently commented on MRK. Analysts at Credit Suisse reiterated a “neutral” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Thursday, May 8th. They now have a $56.00 price target on the stock, down previously from $57.00. Separately, analysts at BMO Capital Markets downgraded shares of Merck & Co. from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a research note on Thursday, May 8th. They now have a $60.00 price target on the stock, down previously from $63.00. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, analysts at Morgan Stanley downgraded shares of Merck & Co. from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 7th. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company. Merck & Co. currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $60.62.

Merck & Co, Inc (NYSE:MRK) is a global health care company that delivers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health, and consumer care products, which it markets directly and through its joint ventures.

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