Hershey (NYSE:HSY) Trading 3.3% Higher

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Hershey Co (NYSE:HSY)’s stock price traded up 3.3% during mid-day trading on Wednesday . The company traded as high as $123.21 and last traded at $125.95, 71,613 shares were traded during mid-day trading. A decline of 96% from the average session volume of 1,689,421 shares. The stock had previously closed at $121.92.

A number of research analysts have issued reports on the company. Bank of America boosted their target price on Hershey from $155.00 to $160.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Friday, January 31st. Royal Bank of Canada reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $134.00 target price on shares of Hershey in a research note on Monday. Edward Jones raised Hershey from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday. JPMorgan Chase & Co. decreased their target price on Hershey from $152.00 to $138.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday, March 18th. Finally, Deutsche Bank assumed coverage on Hershey in a research note on Wednesday, December 11th. They issued a “hold” rating and a $155.00 target price for the company. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, fifteen have issued a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Hershey currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $146.00.

The company has a market capitalization of $25.57 billion, a P/E ratio of 24.30, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.61 and a beta of 0.11. The business has a fifty day moving average price of $147.71 and a 200 day moving average price of $149.12. The company has a quick ratio of 0.65, a current ratio of 1.05 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.02.

Hershey (NYSE:HSY) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, January 30th. The company reported $1.28 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.24 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $2.07 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.06 billion. Hershey had a return on equity of 73.68% and a net margin of 14.40%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 4.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $1.26 earnings per share. As a group, equities analysts forecast that Hershey Co will post 6.1 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, March 16th. Investors of record on Friday, February 21st were issued a dividend of $0.773 per share. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, February 20th. This represents a $3.09 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.33%. Hershey’s payout ratio is presently 53.46%.

In related news, CEO Michele Buck sold 1,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, March 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $152.97, for a total transaction of $229,455.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 174,428 shares in the company, valued at $26,682,251.16. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Director Pamela M. Arway sold 371 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, January 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $145.48, for a total value of $53,973.08. Following the sale, the director now owns 15,986 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,325,643.28. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 23,104 shares of company stock worth $3,548,402 in the last quarter. 0.41% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. State Street Corp raised its holdings in Hershey by 2.3% during the fourth quarter. State Street Corp now owns 7,729,298 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,136,052,000 after acquiring an additional 173,904 shares in the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC raised its holdings in Hershey by 4.0% during the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 3,010,117 shares of the company’s stock worth $442,170,000 after acquiring an additional 115,694 shares in the last quarter. Bank of America Corp DE raised its holdings in Hershey by 11.0% during the fourth quarter. Bank of America Corp DE now owns 1,639,997 shares of the company’s stock worth $241,047,000 after acquiring an additional 162,277 shares in the last quarter. Bank of Montreal Can raised its holdings in Hershey by 23.5% during the fourth quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 1,444,409 shares of the company’s stock worth $212,299,000 after acquiring an additional 274,955 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Norges Bank bought a new stake in Hershey during the fourth quarter worth about $202,552,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 53.13% of the company’s stock.

About Hershey (NYSE:HSY)

The Hershey Company, together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells confectionery products. The company operates through two segments, North America; and International and Other. It offers chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery products; gum and mint refreshment products comprising mints, chewing gums, and bubble gums; pantry items, such as baking ingredients, toppings, beverages, and sundae syrups; and snack items, including spreads, meat snacks, bars and snack bites, mixes, popcorn and protein bars, and cookies.

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