Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Sonoco Products Co. (NYSE:SON) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note published on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “For the third quarter, Sonoco expects earnings per share in the range of $0.65–$0.70. Tough market conditions are expected to hurt its corrugating medium operations. Some of its consumer-product customers seem to be struggling to grow packaged food volumes in certain served markets. For 2016, Sonoco guides EPS in the range of $2.68–$2.74. Impact of the loss of a contract on the Display and Packaging segment and the effect of a manufacturing slowdown in the U.S. on the industrial businesses remain near-term concerns. Moreover, stronger dollar, less favorable price cost variance and the slowdown in manufacturing in the U.S. and emerging markets remain near term headwinds for Sonoco.”

Other research analysts have also recently issued reports about the company. Jefferies Group boosted their target price on Sonoco Products from $42.00 to $46.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a report on Thursday, July 14th. Deutsche Bank AG set a $42.00 target price on Sonoco Products and gave the stock a hold rating in a report on Sunday, July 24th. Bank of America Corp. cut Sonoco Products from a neutral rating to an underperform rating in a report on Monday. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Vertical Group cut Sonoco Products from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Monday, July 25th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets restated a hold rating and set a $46.00 target price on shares of Sonoco Products in a report on Friday, July 22nd. Six research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $46.25.

Analyst Recommendations for Sonoco Products (NYSE:SON)

Shares of Sonoco Products (NYSE:SON) traded up 0.51% on Tuesday, reaching $50.76. The company had a trading volume of 69,705 shares. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $51.98 and its 200-day moving average price is $49.47. Sonoco Products has a 1-year low of $36.56 and a 1-year high of $53.57. The stock has a market capitalization of $5.09 billion, a P/E ratio of 24.06 and a beta of 1.01.

Sonoco Products (NYSE:SON) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 21st. The company reported $0.73 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.68 by $0.05. Sonoco Products had a return on equity of 17.66% and a net margin of 4.37%. The company had revenue of $1.21 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.26 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.68 EPS. Sonoco Products’s revenue was down 3.4% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts predict that Sonoco Products will post $2.72 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 9th. Stockholders of record on Friday, August 12th were given a dividend of $0.37 per share. This represents a $1.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.93%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, August 10th. Sonoco Products’s dividend payout ratio is currently 69.81%.

In related news, Director John E. Linville sold 33,746 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, July 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.54, for a total transaction of $1,739,268.84. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 223,787 shares in the company, valued at $11,533,981.98. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director Edgar H. Lawton III sold 20,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.08, for a total transaction of $1,021,600.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 5,305 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $270,979.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 1.90% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. increased its position in shares of Sonoco Products by 103.2% in the first quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. now owns 648,351 shares of the company’s stock worth $31,491,000 after buying an additional 329,344 shares during the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC increased its position in shares of Sonoco Products by 3.4% in the first quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 623,175 shares of the company’s stock worth $30,267,000 after buying an additional 20,426 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Group LTD increased its position in shares of Sonoco Products by 89.3% in the first quarter. BlackRock Group LTD now owns 350,531 shares of the company’s stock worth $17,025,000 after buying an additional 165,319 shares during the last quarter. Advisors Asset Management Inc. increased its position in shares of Sonoco Products by 11.1% in the second quarter. Advisors Asset Management Inc. now owns 94,914 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,713,000 after buying an additional 9,498 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Envestnet Asset Management Inc. increased its position in shares of Sonoco Products by 2.7% in the first quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 27,031 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,313,000 after buying an additional 716 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 68.99% of the company’s stock.

About Sonoco Products

Sonoco Products Company (Sonoco) is a manufacturer of industrial and consumer packaging products and a provider of packaging services. The Company operates in four segments: Consumer Packaging, Paper and Industrial Converted Products, Display and Packaging, and Protective Solutions. Its Consumer Packaging segment’s products and services include round composite cans, aluminum, steel and peelable membrane easy-open closures for composite and metal cans; plastic bottles, cups and trays, and printed flexible packaging and global brand management.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:SON

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