Hershey Co. (HSY) Downgraded to “Sell” at Zacks Investment Research
Hershey Co. (NYSE:HSY) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors 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.”
A number of other equities analysts also recently weighed in on HSY. JPMorgan Chase & Co. restated a “neutral” rating on shares of Hershey in a report on Saturday, July 2nd. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and set a $89.00 price objective on shares of Hershey in a research report on Saturday, July 2nd. Argus cut shares of Hershey from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and lifted their price objective for the stock from $97.14 to $111.95 in a research report on Tuesday, July 5th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. S&P Equity Research raised shares of Hershey from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and lifted their price objective for the stock from $94.00 to $126.00 in a research report on Tuesday, July 5th. Finally, Vetr cut shares of Hershey from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $114.32 price objective for the company. in a research report on Thursday, July 7th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating, three have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. Hershey presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $100.50.
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Shares of Hershey (NYSE:HSY) traded down 0.05% during midday trading on Monday, hitting $96.38. 346,060 shares of the company were exchanged. Hershey has a one year low of $82.42 and a one year high of $117.79. The company has a 50-day moving average of $97.22 and a 200 day moving average of $99.20. The company has a market capitalization of $20.55 billion, a P/E ratio of 28.22 and a beta of 0.23.
Hershey (NYSE:HSY) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, July 28th. The company reported $0.85 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.78 by $0.07. The business had revenue of $1.64 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.61 billion. Hershey had a net margin of 10.14% and a return on equity of 100.78%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $0.78 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts expect that Hershey will post $4.26 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 15th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, November 23rd will be paid a dividend of $0.618 per share. This represents a $2.47 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.56%. Hershey’s payout ratio is 72.22%.
In other Hershey news, SVP D Michael Wege sold 1,100 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $111.41, for a total transaction of $122,551.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 27,188 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,029,015.08. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Company insiders own 0.68% of the company’s stock.
Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Orrstown Financial Services Inc. increased its position in shares of 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 last quarter. Grisanti Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Hershey during the second quarter valued at approximately $138,000. First Personal Financial Services acquired a new position in shares of Hershey during the second quarter valued at approximately $150,000. Van ECK Associates Corp increased its position in shares of 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 last quarter. Finally, Stonebridge Capital Advisors LLC acquired a new position in shares of Hershey during the second quarter valued at approximately $201,000. 53.01% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
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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