Hershey (NYSE:HSY) Cut to “Market Perform” at Sanford C. Bernstein

Hershey (NYSE:HSY) was downgraded by analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a research report issued on Thursday, The Fly reports.

HSY has been the topic of several other research reports. Credit Suisse Group upped their price target on Hershey from $130.00 to $155.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Friday, July 26th. Goldman Sachs Group raised Hershey from a “sell” rating to a “neutral” rating and upped their price target for the company from $86.00 to $142.00 in a report on Wednesday, July 17th. Piper Jaffray Companies cut Hershey from a “neutral” rating to an “underweight” rating and upped their price target for the company from $122.00 to $125.00 in a report on Wednesday, June 19th. Bank of America reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $165.00 price target (up previously from $152.00) on shares of Hershey in a report on Friday, July 26th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research cut Hershey from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, May 17th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have assigned a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $138.71.

Shares of NYSE:HSY opened at $151.15 on Thursday. Hershey has a 12 month low of $99.15 and a 12 month high of $162.20. The stock has a market cap of $32.10 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 28.20, a PEG ratio of 3.40 and a beta of 0.06. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $155.39 and its 200 day moving average price is $132.86. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.71, a current ratio of 0.88 and a quick ratio of 0.48.

Hershey (NYSE:HSY) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, July 25th. The company reported $1.31 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.18 by $0.13. Hershey had a return on equity of 83.29% and a net margin of 15.51%. The firm had revenue of $1.77 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.77 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $1.14 earnings per share. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, sell-side analysts expect that Hershey will post 5.74 EPS for the current year.

In other Hershey news, major shareholder Hershey Trust Co sold 10,000 shares of Hershey stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $152.82, for a total transaction of $1,528,200.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 92,330 shares in the company, valued at approximately $14,109,870.60. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, CEO Michele Buck sold 1,500 shares of Hershey stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, September 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $155.13, for a total transaction of $232,695.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 155,429 shares in the company, valued at $24,111,700.77. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 93,044 shares of company stock worth $13,146,029 in the last ninety days. 0.41% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Toronto Dominion Bank grew its position in Hershey by 66.5% during the 2nd quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 167,110 shares of the company’s stock worth $22,392,000 after purchasing an additional 66,722 shares in the last quarter. Atria Investments LLC grew its position in Hershey by 45.7% during the 2nd quarter. Atria Investments LLC now owns 4,217 shares of the company’s stock worth $653,000 after purchasing an additional 1,322 shares in the last quarter. American International Group Inc. grew its position in Hershey by 1.9% during the 2nd quarter. American International Group Inc. now owns 150,996 shares of the company’s stock worth $20,238,000 after purchasing an additional 2,850 shares in the last quarter. Treasurer of the State of North Carolina grew its position in Hershey by 7.6% during the 2nd quarter. Treasurer of the State of North Carolina now owns 74,336 shares of the company’s stock worth $9,963,000 after purchasing an additional 5,235 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Nomura Holdings Inc. grew its position in Hershey by 51.0% during the 2nd quarter. Nomura Holdings Inc. now owns 110,521 shares of the company’s stock worth $14,831,000 after purchasing an additional 37,350 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 53.60% of the company’s stock.

Hershey Company Profile

The Hershey Company, together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells confectionery products. The company operates through two segments, North America; and International and Other. It offers chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery products; gum and mint refreshment products comprising mints, chewing gums, and bubble gums; pantry items, such as baking ingredients, toppings, beverages, and sundae syrups; and snack items, including spreads, meat snacks, bars and snack bites, mixes, popcorn and protein bars, and cookies.

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