JPMorgan Chase & Co. Initiates Coverage on Hershey (HSY)

Analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co. began coverage on shares of Hershey (NYSE:HSY) in a report issued on Wednesday, MarketBeat Ratings reports. The firm set a “neutral” rating and a $106.00 price target on the stock. JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s target price suggests a potential upside of 7.05% from the company’s current price.

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the company. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Hershey from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $128.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Friday, December 29th. Sanford C. Bernstein set a $124.00 price objective on Hershey and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, December 19th. Citigroup lifted their target price on Hershey from $126.00 to $130.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, October 27th. Argus reduced their target price on Hershey from $125.00 to $120.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a report on Tuesday, February 6th. Finally, Barclays reduced their target price on Hershey from $110.00 to $107.00 and set an “equal weight” rating for the company in a report on Friday, February 2nd. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $110.84.

Shares of Hershey (HSY) traded down $0.52 during trading on Wednesday, reaching $99.02. The company had a trading volume of 955,810 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,231,878. Hershey has a fifty-two week low of $97.62 and a fifty-two week high of $116.49. The company has a market cap of $21,020.45, a PE ratio of 27.05, a P/E/G ratio of 2.15 and a beta of 0.26. The company has a quick ratio of 0.60, a current ratio of 0.96 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.21.

Hershey (NYSE:HSY) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 1st. The company reported $1.03 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.06 by ($0.03). Hershey had a net margin of 10.42% and a return on equity of 116.74%. The firm had revenue of $1.94 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.96 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.17 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was down 1.5% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts predict that Hershey will post 5.36 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Hershey declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock buyback program on Thursday, October 26th that allows the company to buyback $100.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are usually a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

In other news, CEO Michele Buck sold 400 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, January 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $111.55, for a total transaction of $44,620.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 163,697 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $18,260,400.35. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Insiders have sold 1,200 shares of company stock valued at $133,800 in the last three months. 0.92% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of HSY. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP grew its holdings in shares of Hershey by 3.2% during the second quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 314,228 shares of the company’s stock worth $33,738,000 after purchasing an additional 9,597 shares in the last quarter. OxFORD Asset Management LLP purchased a new position in shares of Hershey during the second quarter worth about $408,000. Advisory Services Network LLC grew its holdings in shares of Hershey by 15.9% during the second quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 5,019 shares of the company’s stock worth $539,000 after purchasing an additional 689 shares in the last quarter. WFG Advisors LP boosted its stake in Hershey by 25.2% in the second quarter. WFG Advisors LP now owns 998 shares of the company’s stock worth $107,000 after buying an additional 201 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Achmea Investment Management B.V. boosted its stake in Hershey by 104.2% in the second quarter. Achmea Investment Management B.V. now owns 33,053 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,547,000 after buying an additional 16,864 shares in the last quarter. 51.76% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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Hershey Company Profile

The Hershey Company is a producer of chocolate in North America. The Company’s principal product offerings include chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery products; gum and mint refreshment products; pantry items, such as baking ingredients and beverages, and snack items, such as spreads, meat snacks, bars and snack bites and mixes.

Analyst Recommendations for Hershey (NYSE:HSY)

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