McCormick & Co. (NYSE:MKC) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Estimates have largely been stable since McCormick delivered better-than-expected results in the third quarter of fiscal 2016. In fact, the company has been delivering better-than-expected earnings in the last four consecutive quarters. McCormick has been witnessing rising demand for spices, herbs and seasonings over the last few years, which is boosting its sales. Product innovation, brand marketing support and expanded distribution, as well as pricing actions also led to sales growth, offsetting the negative impact of material costs and currency. It is encouraging that McCormick is focusing on building sales through acquisitions, and expects strong sales momentum to continue in fiscal 2016. Its cost savings initiatives are also appealing. The company has thus raised its financial guidance for fiscal 2016 driven by strong year-to-date performance and current projections for the fourth quarter.”

Several other brokerages also recently weighed in on MKC. Credit Suisse Group AG upgraded McCormick & Co. from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $111.00 price target for the company in a report on Tuesday, October 25th. Sanford C. Bernstein downgraded McCormick & Co. from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and dropped their price objective for the stock from $113.00 to $104.00 in a report on Friday, September 16th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Deutsche Bank AG dropped their price objective on McCormick & Co. from $113.00 to $112.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a report on Friday, September 23rd. Finally, Jefferies Group dropped their price objective on McCormick & Co. from $100.00 to $95.00 and set a “hold” rating for the company in a report on Wednesday, October 12th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $100.99.

Analyst Recommendations for McCormick & Co. (NYSE:MKC)

Shares of McCormick & Co. (NYSE:MKC) opened at 91.91 on Friday. The firm has a market capitalization of $11.59 billion, a PE ratio of 25.38 and a beta of 0.50. McCormick & Co. has a 1-year low of $78.45 and a 1-year high of $107.84. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $95.17 and a 200-day moving average price of $98.79.

McCormick & Co. (NYSE:MKC) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Friday, September 30th. The company reported $1.03 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.94 by $0.09. The company earned $1.09 billion during the quarter. McCormick & Co. had a return on equity of 27.26% and a net margin of 10.58%. The company’s revenue was up 2.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.85 earnings per share. On average, analysts forecast that McCormick & Co. will post $3.79 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, October 25th. Investors of record on Tuesday, October 11th were given a dividend of $0.43 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, October 6th. This represents a $1.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.87%. McCormick & Co.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 47.51%.

In related news, Director Freeman A. Hrabowski III sold 2,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, October 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $94.15, for a total transaction of $188,300.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 38,442 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,619,314.30. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 13.70% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Nuveen Fund Advisors LLC purchased a new position in McCormick & Co. during the third quarter worth $410,000. Clinton Group Inc. purchased a new position in McCormick & Co. during the third quarter worth $392,000. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company purchased a new position in McCormick & Co. during the third quarter worth $35,854,000. Virtus Investment Advisers Inc. purchased a new position in McCormick & Co. during the third quarter worth $1,265,000. Finally, Analytic Investors LLC boosted its position in McCormick & Co. by 6.7% in the third quarter. Analytic Investors LLC now owns 1,194,164 shares of the company’s stock worth $119,320,000 after buying an additional 74,974 shares during the last quarter. 73.47% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

McCormick & Co. Company Profile

McCormick & Company, Incorporated manufactures, markets and distributes spices, seasoning mixes, condiments and other flavorful products to the food industry, including retailers, food manufacturers and foodservice businesses. The Company operates in two segments: consumer and industrial. Its brands in the Americas include McCormick, Lawry’s, Stubb’s, Club House, Zatarain’s, Thai Kitchen and Simply Asia.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:MKC

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