Hershey Co. (NYSE:HSY) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued on Monday.
According to Zacks, “Hershey’s sales trends have been weak since 2014 due to weak category trends, increased competition from broader snacking category and soft international growth. The top-line weakness continued in 2016 with sales declining 1.4% in the first half of 2016 due to continued weakness in demand in China and North America. Moreover, the company lowered its sales and earnings expectations for 2016 twice this year due to weak growth in the CMG category in North America and persistent macroeconomic challenges in China. However, management expects sales trends to improve in the second half driven by innovation and larger in-store merchandising and trade support.”
Several other equities research analysts have also issued reports on the stock. Vetr raised shares of Hershey from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $110.00 target price for the company in a report on Thursday, September 8th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reissued a “neutral” rating and issued a $100.00 target price on shares of Hershey in a report on Tuesday, September 6th. Credit Suisse Group AG reissued a “neutral” rating and issued a $112.00 target price on shares of Hershey in a report on Tuesday, August 30th. Bank of America Corp. assumed coverage on shares of Hershey in a report on Tuesday, August 30th. They issued an “underperform” rating and a $100.00 target price for the company. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reissued a “neutral” rating on shares of Hershey in a report on Friday, July 29th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating, three have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $100.50.
Shares of Hershey (NYSE:HSY) traded down 0.02% during midday trading on Monday, hitting $96.41. 348,820 shares of the stock were exchanged. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $97.22 and its 200 day moving average is $99.20. The firm has a market cap of $20.55 billion, a PE ratio of 28.23 and a beta of 0.23. Hershey has a 52-week low of $82.42 and a 52-week high of $117.79.
Hershey (NYSE:HSY) last released its earnings results on Thursday, July 28th. The company reported $0.85 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.78 by $0.07. The company earned $1.64 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.61 billion. Hershey had a net margin of 10.14% and a return on equity of 100.78%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 3.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.78 EPS. On average, analysts forecast that Hershey will post $4.26 earnings per share for the current year.
The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 15th. Investors of record on Wednesday, November 23rd will be given a $0.618 dividend. This represents a $2.47 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.56%. Hershey’s dividend payout ratio is presently 72.22%.
In related news, SVP D Michael Wege sold 1,100 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, August 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $111.41, for a total value of $122,551.00. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 27,188 shares in the company, valued at $3,029,015.08. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. 0.68% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Orrstown Financial Services Inc. increased its stake in Hershey by 2.2% in the second quarter. Orrstown Financial Services Inc. now owns 940 shares of the company’s stock valued at $107,000 after buying an additional 20 shares during the period. Grisanti Capital Management LLC acquired a new stake in Hershey during the second quarter valued at $138,000. First Personal Financial Services acquired a new stake in Hershey during the second quarter valued at $150,000. Van ECK Associates Corp increased its stake in Hershey by 8.3% in the second quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp now owns 1,408 shares of the company’s stock valued at $160,000 after buying an additional 108 shares during the period. Finally, Stonebridge Capital Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in Hershey during the second quarter valued at $201,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 53.01% of the company’s stock.
Hershey Company Profile
The Hershey Company is a producer of chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery. The Company’s principal confectionery offerings include gum and mint refreshment products; pantry items, such as baking ingredients, toppings and beverages, and snack items, such as spreads, meat snacks, bars, and snack bites and mixes.
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