Investment Analysts’ Weekly Ratings Changes for Hershey Company (The) (HSY)

A number of firms have modified their ratings and price targets on shares of Hershey Company (The) (NYSE: HSY) recently:

  • 10/30/2017 – Hershey Company (The) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating. According to Zacks, “Hershey’s earnings and revenues beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in third-quarter 2017. Earnings also improved from the year-ago level by 3.1%. Growth in its core brands, successful innovation and progress in multi-year productivity, and cost-saving initiatives drove the outperformance. Net sales improved 1.5% year over year owing to strong demand for products like Kisses, Kit Kat and Chocolate Dipped Pretzels. This marked the sixth straight quarter of sales rise after a few quarters of no growth. Organic sales grew 1.1% as demand strengthened in the United States. However, Hershey’s adjusted gross margin declined 30 basis points due to higher freight rates, manufacturing and distribution costs and unfavorable sales mix. Shares of Hershey’s lost around 4% in the last six months. Estimates for the fourth quarter and 2017 also moved down 3.5% and 0.2%, respectively, reflecting analysts’ concern.”
  • 10/27/2017 – Hershey Company (The) had its price target raised by analysts at Citigroup Inc. from $126.00 to $130.00. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock.
  • 10/27/2017 – Hershey Company (The) had its price target lowered by analysts at UBS AG from $110.00 to $106.00. They now have a “neutral” rating on the stock.
  • 10/27/2017 – Hershey Company (The) had its “hold” rating reaffirmed by analysts at BMO Capital Markets. They now have a $105.00 price target on the stock.
  • 10/26/2017 – Hershey Company (The) was given a new $113.00 price target on by analysts at Susquehanna Bancshares Inc. They now have a “hold” rating on the stock.
  • 10/2/2017 – Hershey Company (The) was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating. They now have a $122.00 price target on the stock. According to Zacks, “Hershey’s shares outperformed the industry it belongs to so far this year. Although Hershey’s sales trends have been weak since 2014 due to weak category trends and increased competition from broader snacking category, the company has been registering sales growth in recent times. We are also encouraged by the new cost savings program, ‘Margin for Growth’, intended to improve overall operating margin through supply chain optimization, a streamlined operating model and reduced administrative expenses, with savings primarily being achieved in 2018 and 2019. However, economic slowdown in China and softening chocolate category trends have been hurting Hershey’s international sales since 2015. Hershey expects China’s net sales in 2017 to decline single digits on a year-over-year basis as lower direct trade, returns, discounts and allowances are likely to hurt gross sales.”

Shares of Hershey Company (NYSE:HSY) traded up 0.40% during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $106.61. The company had a trading volume of 284,767 shares. Hershey Company has a one year low of $95.68 and a one year high of $116.49. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $108.43 and its 200-day moving average price is $108.40. The stock has a market capitalization of $22.65 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 34.06 and a beta of 0.39.

Hershey Company (The) (NYSE:HSY) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The company reported $1.33 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.29 by $0.04. Hershey Company (The) had a return on equity of 124.06% and a net margin of 9.52%. The company had revenue of $2.03 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.01 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $1.29 EPS. Hershey Company (The)’s revenue was up 1.5% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts predict that Hershey Company will post $4.82 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 15th. Investors of record on Wednesday, November 22nd will be given a dividend of $0.656 per share. This represents a $2.62 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.47%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, November 21st. Hershey Company (The)’s dividend payout ratio is currently 77.98%.

In related news, SVP D Michael Wege sold 1,100 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $105.90, for a total transaction of $116,490.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 27,766 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,940,419.40. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, major shareholder Hershey Trust Co Trustee In Tr sold 4,500,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $106.01, for a total value of $477,045,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 4,519,232 shares of company stock valued at $479,154,674. 0.92% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

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.

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