Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) has received an average recommendation of “Hold” from the twenty-one brokerages that are covering the stock. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the company. The average 12 month target price among analysts that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $68.19.

Several brokerages recently weighed in on MRK. Vetr raised shares of Merck & Co. from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $65.54 target price on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, March 1st. Sanford C. Bernstein reaffirmed a “market perform” rating on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Friday, February 24th. BMO Capital Markets cut their target price on shares of Merck & Co. from $72.00 to $70.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, February 15th. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed an “underperform” rating and set a $52.00 target price (up from $50.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Saturday, March 11th. Finally, Cowen and Company reaffirmed a “market perform” rating and set a $70.00 target price (up from $68.00) on shares of Merck & Co. in a research note on Thursday, May 11th.

In related news, EVP Adam H. Schechter sold 53,850 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, April 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $63.48, for a total value of $3,418,398.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director C Robert Kidder sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, May 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $63.54, for a total transaction of $317,700.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 14,317 shares in the company, valued at $909,702.18. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.05% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Sanders Capital LLC increased its position in Merck & Co. by 3.3% in the first quarter. Sanders Capital LLC now owns 11,593,645 shares of the company’s stock worth $752,482,000 after buying an additional 365,276 shares during the period. Bank of Nova Scotia increased its position in Merck & Co. by 183.7% in the first quarter. Bank of Nova Scotia now owns 1,200,139 shares of the company’s stock worth $76,255,000 after buying an additional 777,044 shares during the period. Northern Oak Wealth Management Inc. increased its position in Merck & Co. by 2.1% in the first quarter. Northern Oak Wealth Management Inc. now owns 28,813 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,831,000 after buying an additional 604 shares during the period. Green Square Capital LLC increased its position in Merck & Co. by 18.8% in the first quarter. Green Square Capital LLC now owns 103,395 shares of the company’s stock worth $6,618,000 after buying an additional 16,383 shares during the period. Finally, Adalta Capital Management LLC bought a new position in Merck & Co. during the first quarter worth approximately $4,844,000. 74.10% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Shares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) traded down 0.17% during trading on Friday, reaching $63.78. 9,293,703 shares of the company traded hands. Merck & Co. has a 52 week low of $54.63 and a 52 week high of $66.80. The company has a market capitalization of $174.45 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 40.65 and a beta of 0.79. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $63.10 and its 200-day moving average price is $62.68.

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, May 2nd. The company reported $0.88 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.83 by $0.05. Merck & Co. had a net margin of 14.30% and a return on equity of 24.08%. The firm had revenue of $9.43 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $9.25 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.89 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.3% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts anticipate that Merck & Co. will post $3.84 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Merck & Co. Company 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.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:MRK

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