Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Over the last twelve months, Monsanto's shares outperformed the industry. The company reported better-than-expected third-quarter fiscal 2017 results. Increasing demand for crop-yield enhancing products, stronger innovation and success of Bayer's buyout deal are anticipated to bolster Monsanto's top- and bottom-line performance in the quarters ahead. However, challenging pricing conditions prevailing in the agricultural market might limit near-term growth. In addition, headwinds like weaker currencies of major overseas markets, such as Brazil, or stiff industry rivalry remain major causes of worry. Over the last 30 days, Zacks Consensus Estimate for the stock has remained unchanged for fiscal 2018.”

MON has been the subject of a number of other reports. Royal Bank Of Canada restated a “sector perform” rating and issued a $128.00 price objective (up from $120.00) on shares of Monsanto in a report on Thursday, June 29th. Jefferies Group LLC cut shares of Monsanto from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $128.00 price objective on the stock. in a research report on Wednesday, July 12th. Vetr raised shares of Monsanto from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $122.35 price objective on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, July 12th. BidaskClub raised shares of Monsanto from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Saturday, August 19th. Finally, Citigroup Inc. reissued a “neutral” rating and set a $126.00 price objective (up previously from $125.00) on shares of Monsanto in a research report on Monday, July 10th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have assigned a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $123.43.

Shares of Monsanto (NYSE:MON) traded up 0.09% on Wednesday, reaching $116.70. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 620,461 shares. Monsanto has a 52 week low of $97.35 and a 52 week high of $118.97. The stock has a market capitalization of $51.27 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 25.21 and a beta of 1.07. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $117.23 and a 200 day moving average of $115.65.

Monsanto (NYSE:MON) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, June 28th. The basic materials company reported $1.93 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.74 by $0.19. The company had revenue of $4.23 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.18 billion. Monsanto had a net margin of 14.11% and a return on equity of 45.26%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $2.17 earnings per share. On average, analysts expect that Monsanto will post $4.89 EPS for the current year.

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In other news, EVP Robert T. Fraley sold 52,410 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, July 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $117.95, for a total value of $6,181,759.50. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, SVP Janet M. Holloway sold 7,423 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, June 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $118.00, for a total transaction of $875,914.00. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 33,645 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,970,110. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 74,470 shares of company stock worth $8,791,281. Insiders own 0.79% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Fisher Asset Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Monsanto during the first quarter worth approximately $213,000. Delta Asset Management LLC TN boosted its stake in shares of Monsanto by 0.5% in the first quarter. Delta Asset Management LLC TN now owns 1,950 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $221,000 after buying an additional 10 shares in the last quarter. Duncker Streett & Co. Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Monsanto by 5.3% in the first quarter. Duncker Streett & Co. Inc. now owns 18,809 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $2,129,000 after buying an additional 948 shares in the last quarter. Livingston Group Asset Management CO operating as Southport Capital Management boosted its stake in shares of Monsanto by 8.2% in the first quarter. Livingston Group Asset Management CO operating as Southport Capital Management now owns 4,004 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $453,000 after buying an additional 302 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Crossvault Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of Monsanto by 28.2% in the first quarter. Crossvault Capital Management LLC now owns 4,200 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $475,000 after buying an additional 925 shares in the last quarter. 74.79% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Monsanto

Monsanto Company (Monsanto), along with its subsidiaries, is a provider of agricultural products for farmers. The Company provides seeds, biotechnology trait products, herbicides and digital agriculture tools to farmers. The Company operates through two segments: Seeds and Genomics, and Agricultural Productivity.

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