Zacks Investment Research Lowers Monsanto Co. (MON) to Strong Sell
Monsanto Co. (NYSE:MON) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report released on Friday.
According to Zacks, “Monsanto intends to improve its business on the back of Bayer’s all-cash buyout deal. However, the deal has yet not passed through any regulatory hurdles. Monsanto’s earnings and revenues are currently hurt due to some major headwinds. Weak agricultural product prices are lowering investments made by farmers, hence weighing the demand for agro-products offered by Monsanto. Moreover, a stronger U.S. dollar is boosting the power of smaller rivals in low-cost nations. Persistence of these two issues would further hamper Monsanto’s results in the quarters ahead. Also, unfavorable climatic conditions or any new government restriction introduced in the usage of genetically modified crops might adversely affect the company’s near term results.”
MON has been the topic of several other reports. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. raised Monsanto from a “sell” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $104.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, September 27th. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Monsanto in a research note on Wednesday, June 29th. Piper Jaffray Cos. set a $128.00 price objective on Monsanto and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, September 15th. Citigroup Inc. reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and issued a $112.00 price objective (up from $94.00) on shares of Monsanto in a research note on Friday, July 1st. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $118.00 price objective on shares of Monsanto in a research note on Thursday, June 30th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating, fifteen have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $114.67.
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Shares of Monsanto (NYSE:MON) traded down 0.16% during trading on Friday, reaching $103.33. The company had a trading volume of 628,058 shares. The company has a market capitalization of $45.21 billion, a P/E ratio of 45.48 and a beta of 1.19. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $104.88 and a 200-day moving average price of $101.34. Monsanto has a 52-week low of $83.73 and a 52-week high of $114.26.
Monsanto (NYSE:MON) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 5th. The company reported $0.07 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of ($0.02) by $0.09. The business had revenue of $2.56 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.38 billion. Monsanto had a return on equity of 46.07% and a net margin of 9.89%. The company’s revenue was up 8.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted ($0.19) EPS. On average, analysts predict that Monsanto will post $4.89 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 28th. Shareholders of record on Friday, October 7th will be given a dividend of $0.54 per share. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, October 5th. This represents a $2.16 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.09%. Monsanto’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 71.05%.
In other Monsanto news, COO Brett D. Begemann sold 27,980 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, July 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $103.62, for a total transaction of $2,899,287.60. Following the sale, the chief operating officer now owns 102,480 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $10,618,977.60. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Michael K. Stern sold 12,797 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, July 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $101.77, for a total transaction of $1,302,350.69. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 21,583 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,196,501.91. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.88% of the company’s stock.
A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Monsanto by 1.3% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 30,430,570 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,146,826,000 after buying an additional 389,914 shares during the period. State Street Corp boosted its stake in shares of Monsanto by 0.9% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 18,623,044 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,634,002,000 after buying an additional 173,201 shares during the period. FMR LLC boosted its stake in shares of Monsanto by 41.3% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 16,593,757 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,715,960,000 after buying an additional 4,851,499 shares during the period. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA boosted its stake in shares of Monsanto by 0.3% in the second quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 14,893,956 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,540,185,000 after buying an additional 38,316 shares during the period. Finally, Capital International Investors boosted its stake in shares of Monsanto by 6.2% in the second quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 8,187,701 shares of the company’s stock worth $846,690,000 after buying an additional 476,848 shares during the period. 79.02% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
Monsanto Company Profile
Monsanto Company (Monsanto), along with its subsidiaries, is a provider of agricultural products for farmers. The Company provides seeds, biotechnology trait products, herbicides and precision agriculture tools to farmers. The Company operates through two segments: Seeds and Genomics, and Agricultural Productivity.
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