Suntrust Banks Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Hershey Co (NYSE:HSY) by 4.4% in the 4th quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The firm owned 28,406 shares of the company’s stock after acquiring an additional 1,207 shares during the period. Suntrust Banks Inc.’s holdings in Hershey were worth $3,222,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. BlackRock Inc. grew its stake in Hershey by 22.6% during the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 12,459,680 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,414,299,000 after purchasing an additional 2,299,115 shares during the period. Janus Henderson Group PLC grew its stake in Hershey by 15.4% during the third quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 4,368,862 shares of the company’s stock worth $476,949,000 after purchasing an additional 582,715 shares during the period. APG Asset Management N.V. grew its stake in Hershey by 45.4% during the fourth quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. now owns 1,885,679 shares of the company’s stock worth $178,251,000 after purchasing an additional 588,500 shares during the period. Marathon Asset Management LLP grew its stake in Hershey by 39.2% during the fourth quarter. Marathon Asset Management LLP now owns 1,694,259 shares of the company’s stock worth $192,322,000 after purchasing an additional 477,539 shares during the period. Finally, Bank of New York Mellon Corp grew its stake in Hershey by 26.0% during the fourth quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 1,404,303 shares of the company’s stock worth $159,401,000 after purchasing an additional 289,472 shares during the period. 52.54% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
In other news, insider Michele Buck sold 400 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, December 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $114.95, for a total value of $45,980.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 164,097 shares in the company, valued at $18,862,950.15. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 0.92% of the stock is owned by company insiders.
Hershey (NYSE:HSY) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, February 1st. The company reported $1.03 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.06 by ($0.03). Hershey had a net margin of 10.42% and a return on equity of 116.74%. The company had revenue of $1.94 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.96 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $1.17 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.5% compared to the same quarter last year. sell-side analysts forecast that Hershey Co will post 5.36 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, February 23rd will be issued a $0.656 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, February 22nd. This represents a $2.62 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.68%. Hershey’s dividend payout ratio is presently 77.98%.
Several research firms recently commented on HSY. JPMorgan Chase & Co. began coverage on Hershey in a research note on Wednesday, February 14th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $106.00 target price for the company. Argus decreased their target price on Hershey from $125.00 to $120.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research note on Tuesday, February 6th. Barclays cut their price target on Hershey from $110.00 to $107.00 and set an “equal weight” rating on the stock in a report on Friday, February 2nd. Morgan Stanley cut their price target on Hershey from $105.00 to $100.00 and set an “underweight” rating on the stock in a report on Friday, February 2nd. Finally, Credit Suisse Group lowered Hershey from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and cut their price target for the stock from $129.00 to $115.00 in a report on Friday, February 2nd. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $111.44.
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The Hershey Company is a producer of chocolate in North America. The Company’s principal product offerings include chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery products; gum and mint refreshment products; pantry items, such as baking ingredients and beverages, and snack items, such as spreads, meat snacks, bars and snack bites and mixes.
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