Hershey (NYSE:HSY) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Hold

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Hershey (NYSE:HSY) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Friday, Zacks.com reports. The firm currently has $148.00 target price on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Hershey have outperformed the industry in the year-to-date period. The company’s bottom line came ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the second-quarter of 2020. Revenue growth in North America, even in the face of coronavirus-related hurdles, was impressive. Notably, Hershey’s solid brands helped it gain confectionary market share. These factors, along with solid cost management and price realization, helped counter COVID-19-related cost pressures and are likely to aid margin expansion in the second half. However, overall sales remained soft due to weakness in the International & Other segment as well as currency headwinds. Management anticipates a slower recovery in the International unit, while it expects stronger second-half sales in the North America unit, backed by continued higher at-home consumption.”

Several other equities analysts also recently issued reports on HSY. Jefferies Financial Group upped their price objective on shares of Hershey from $136.00 to $140.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Friday, July 17th. Stifel Nicolaus boosted their price target on Hershey from $135.00 to $140.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Friday, July 24th. Morgan Stanley raised their price objective on Hershey from $136.00 to $148.00 and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a report on Friday, July 24th. BMO Capital Markets upped their target price on Hershey from $140.00 to $150.00 and gave the company a market perform rating in a research note on Friday, July 24th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group increased their target price on Hershey from $152.00 to $170.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a research report on Friday, July 24th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, fourteen have issued a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $145.53.

NYSE HSY opened at $138.92 on Friday. The company has a quick ratio of 0.86, a current ratio of 1.31 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.33. Hershey has a fifty-two week low of $109.88 and a fifty-two week high of $161.83. The business has a fifty day moving average of $146.39 and a 200-day moving average of $138.07. The stock has a market cap of $30.06 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 27.24, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.13 and a beta of 0.18.

Hershey (NYSE:HSY) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 23rd. The company reported $1.31 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.13 by $0.18. The firm had revenue of $1.71 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.74 billion. Hershey had a return on equity of 70.65% and a net margin of 13.50%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 3.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $1.31 EPS. As a group, analysts anticipate that Hershey will post 6.03 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, September 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, August 21st were paid a $0.804 dividend. This is a positive change from Hershey’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.77. This represents a $3.22 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.32%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, August 20th. Hershey’s payout ratio is currently 55.71%.

In related news, Director Pamela M. Arway sold 294 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, July 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $128.98, for a total transaction of $37,920.12. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 15,970 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,059,810.60. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 29.39% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. BDO Wealth Advisors LLC purchased a new position in Hershey in the first quarter valued at about $31,000. Elmwood Wealth Management Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Hershey in the first quarter valued at about $27,000. Motco raised its holdings in shares of Hershey by 298.6% during the 2nd quarter. Motco now owns 291 shares of the company’s stock valued at $38,000 after buying an additional 218 shares during the period. TCTC Holdings LLC acquired a new position in Hershey during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $44,000. Finally, IFP Advisors Inc boosted its holdings in Hershey by 29.1% in the 2nd quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 377 shares of the company’s stock worth $48,000 after acquiring an additional 85 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 52.37% 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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