Kellogg’s (K) Raised to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Kellogg’s (NYSE:K) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Thursday. The firm currently has $73.00 target price on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Kellogg’s cost savings from its Project K and ZBB have been supporting renovation, innovation, brand support and margins. Kellogg remains on track to achieve its 2018 profit-margin goal of 18%. In order to improve its sales performance, the company is investing in brand building such as digital media, consumer promotions and traditional advertising.  Kellogg is also channeling funds toward product and packaging innovation as well as reformulation of many existing products to keep up with the rapidly changing views of consumers regarding health and wellness. Although cost savings are providing support for margin expansion, a weak top line is limiting Kellogg’s ability to leverage it. Meanwhile, its shares have outperformed industry in the past six months and current year earnings estimates have been trending upward over the last 60 days.”

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Other research analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. Citigroup cut their target price on shares of Kellogg’s from $91.00 to $87.00 and set a buy rating for the company in a research report on Friday, February 9th. Pivotal Research initiated coverage on shares of Kellogg’s in a research report on Monday, February 5th. They set a buy rating and a $80.00 target price for the company. Morgan Stanley boosted their target price on shares of Kellogg’s from $69.00 to $70.00 and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a research report on Friday, February 9th. Susquehanna Bancshares set a $69.00 target price on shares of Kellogg’s and gave the stock a hold rating in a research report on Monday, February 5th. Finally, DZ Bank lowered shares of Kellogg’s from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Friday, December 8th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company. Kellogg’s has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $73.65.

Shares of NYSE:K opened at $64.24 on Thursday. The firm has a market capitalization of $22,210.90, a P/E ratio of 15.90, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.97 and a beta of 0.45. Kellogg’s has a 1 year low of $58.76 and a 1 year high of $74.28. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 3.52, a current ratio of 0.68 and a quick ratio of 0.41.

Kellogg’s (NYSE:K) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 8th. The company reported $0.96 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.96. The firm had revenue of $3.21 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.10 billion. Kellogg’s had a net margin of 9.82% and a return on equity of 70.35%. Kellogg’s’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.92 earnings per share. equities analysts anticipate that Kellogg’s will post 4.46 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, March 15th. Stockholders of record on Monday, March 5th were given a dividend of $0.54 per share. This represents a $2.16 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.36%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, March 2nd. Kellogg’s’s dividend payout ratio is currently 53.47%.

Kellogg’s declared that its Board of Directors has approved a share buyback plan on Friday, December 15th that authorizes the company to buyback $1.50 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are typically a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

In related news, major shareholder Kellogg W. K. Foundation Trust sold 205,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, March 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $69.47, for a total value of $14,241,350.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Paul T. Norman sold 167,497 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, February 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $68.86, for a total transaction of $11,533,843.42. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 623,763 shares of company stock valued at $42,787,777 in the last ninety days. 1.40% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of large investors have recently bought and sold shares of K. Sun Life Financial INC grew its stake in Kellogg’s by 73.4% during the fourth quarter. Sun Life Financial INC now owns 23,795 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,617,000 after buying an additional 10,069 shares during the last quarter. Koch Industries Inc. grew its stake in Kellogg’s by 125.3% during the fourth quarter. Koch Industries Inc. now owns 13,200 shares of the company’s stock worth $897,000 after buying an additional 7,342 shares during the last quarter. Paloma Partners Management Co grew its stake in Kellogg’s by 16.9% during the fourth quarter. Paloma Partners Management Co now owns 30,970 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,106,000 after buying an additional 4,473 shares during the last quarter. Flippin Bruce & Porter Inc. bought a new stake in Kellogg’s during the fourth quarter worth about $3,647,000. Finally, Bbva Compass Bancshares Inc. grew its stake in Kellogg’s by 21.9% during the fourth quarter. Bbva Compass Bancshares Inc. now owns 6,305 shares of the company’s stock worth $429,000 after buying an additional 1,134 shares during the last quarter. 91.84% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Kellogg’s

Kellogg Company, together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and markets ready-to-eat cereal and convenience foods. The company operates through U.S. Morning Foods, U.S. Snacks, U.S. Specialty, North America Other, Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific segments. Its principal products include cookies, crackers, savory snacks, toaster pastries, cereal bars, granola bars and bites, fruit-flavored snacks, ready-to-eat cereals, frozen waffles, and veggie foods.

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Analyst Recommendations for Kellogg`s (NYSE:K)

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