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Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) saw a large increase in short interest during the month of June. As of June 13th, there was short interest totalling 33,266,511 shares, an increase of 13.9% from the May 30th total of 29,199,196 shares, StockRatingsNetwork reports. Currently, 1.1% of the company’s stock are short sold. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 8,013,666 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 4.2 days.

In other Merck & Co. news, Insider Willie A. Deese unloaded 72,290 shares of the company’s stock on the open market in a transaction that occurred on Friday, June 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $58.26, for a total transaction of $4,211,615.40. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link.

A number of research firms have recently commented on MRK. Analysts at Barclays raised their price target on shares of Merck & Co. from $50.00 to $61.00 in a research note on Wednesday, July 2nd. They now have an “equal weight” rating on the stock. Separately, analysts at Bank of America reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Thursday, June 12th. They now have a $62.00 price target on the stock, down previously from $65.00. Finally, analysts at Zacks reiterated a “neutral” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Tuesday, May 20th. They now have a $59.00 price target on the stock. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $60.23.

Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) opened at 59.20 on Monday. Merck & Co. has a 52 week low of $44.62 and a 52 week high of $59.84. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $57.76 and a 200-day moving average of $55.29. The company has a market cap of $173.0 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 38.95.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last posted its quarterly earnings results 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. On average, analysts predict that Merck & Co. will post $3.47 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which is scheduled for Tuesday, July 8th. Investors of record on Monday, June 16th will be paid a dividend of $0.44 per share. This represents a $1.76 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.97%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, June 12th.

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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