Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday. The firm presently has a $132.00 price target on the basic materials company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price indicates a potential upside of 12.16% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Monsanto's shares have outperformed the industry in a year's time. The company reported better-than-expected results for third-quarter fiscal 2017. Increasing demand for crop-yield enhancing products, such as Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Soybeans, and launch of non-imitable technological solutions are likely to boost the company's top-line performance, moving ahead. Further, robust top-line performance, higher planted acreage, as well as lower U.S. corn and soybean costs are expected to bolster bottom-line results in near term. Also, the successful accomplishment of Bayer's buyout deal is anticipated to open up a number of opportunities for Monsanto. Over the last 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the stock moved north for fiscal 2018.”

A number of other equities analysts have also recently commented on MON. UBS AG cut Monsanto from a “positive” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Tuesday, June 27th. Susquehanna Bancshares Inc reiterated a “neutral” rating and set a $128.00 price target (up previously from $125.00) on shares of Monsanto in a report on Tuesday, June 27th. Vetr upgraded Monsanto from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $122.35 price target for the company in a report on Tuesday, June 27th. Royal Bank Of Canada reiterated a “sector perform” rating and set a $128.00 price target (up previously from $120.00) on shares of Monsanto in a report on Thursday, June 29th. Finally, Barclays PLC lifted their price target on Monsanto from $115.00 to $120.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a report on Thursday, June 29th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $123.49.

Shares of Monsanto (MON) traded down 0.14% during mid-day trading on Thursday, reaching $117.69. The company had a trading volume of 983,310 shares. The company has a market capitalization of $51.70 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 25.42 and a beta of 1.07. Monsanto has a 12 month low of $97.35 and a 12 month high of $118.97. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $117.23 and its 200 day moving average is $116.41.

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

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In other news, EVP Steven Mizell sold 11,300 shares of Monsanto stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, July 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $118.57, for a total value of $1,339,841.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 55,011 shares in the company, valued at $6,522,654.27. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, EVP Robert T. Fraley sold 52,410 shares of Monsanto stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, July 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $117.95, for a total transaction of $6,181,759.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.79% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Puplava Financial Services Inc. raised its position in Monsanto by 0.4% during the second quarter. Puplava Financial Services Inc. now owns 2,119 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $251,000 after purchasing an additional 9 shares in the last quarter. Savant Capital LLC raised its position in Monsanto by 0.4% during the first quarter. Savant Capital LLC now owns 3,082 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $349,000 after purchasing an additional 11 shares in the last quarter. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America raised its position in Monsanto by 0.7% during the first quarter. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America now owns 1,689 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $191,000 after purchasing an additional 11 shares in the last quarter. Enterprise Financial Services Corp raised its position in Monsanto by 1.2% during the second quarter. Enterprise Financial Services Corp now owns 1,384 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $164,000 after purchasing an additional 16 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Forward Management LLC raised its position in Monsanto by 0.5% during the second quarter. Forward Management LLC now owns 3,201 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $379,000 after purchasing an additional 16 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 74.79% of the company’s stock.

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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