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Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) saw unusually large options trading activity on Monday. Stock investors purchased 5,003 put options on the stock, Analyst Ratings.Net reports. This represents an increase of approximately 111% compared to the average daily volume of 2,366 put options.

In other Merck & Co. news, EVP Adam H. Schechter unloaded 22,000 shares of Merck & Co. stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $59.70, for a total value of $1,313,400.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link.

A number of research firms have recently commented on MRK. Analysts at Zacks reiterated a “neutral” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Monday, August 18th. They now have a $62.00 price target on the stock. Separately, analysts at Jefferies Group cut their price target on shares of Merck & Co. from $63.00 to $60.00 in a research note on Monday, August 11th. They now have a “hold” rating on the stock. Finally, analysts at Credit Suisse reiterated a “neutral” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Thursday, July 31st. They now have a $59.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $56.00. Seven investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $60.64.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded up 0.95% on Monday, hitting $59.73. The stock had a trading volume of 5,170,831 shares. 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 $57.89 and a 200-day moving average of $57.00. The company has a market cap of $172.3 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 31.17.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 29th. The company reported $0.85 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.05. The company had revenue of $10.93 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.60 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.84 earnings per share. Merck & Co.’s revenue was down .7% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts predict that Merck & Co. will post $3.49 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which is scheduled for Tuesday, October 7th. Investors of record on Monday, September 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.44 per share. This represents a $1.76 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.95%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 11th.

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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