McCormick & Co. (NYSE:MKC) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Monday. The brokerage currently has a $102.00 price objective on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s target price would indicate a potential upside of 11.84% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Estimates have been moving upward 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 equities research analysts also recently commented on the company. Credit Suisse Group AG raised McCormick & Co. from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $111.00 target price for the company in a report on Tuesday, October 25th. Jefferies Group reduced their target price on McCormick & Co. from $100.00 to $95.00 and set a “hold” rating for the company in a report on Wednesday, October 12th. Deutsche Bank AG reduced their target price 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, Sanford C. Bernstein downgraded McCormick & Co. from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and reduced their target price for the company from $113.00 to $104.00 in a report on Friday, September 16th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company. McCormick & Co. presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $100.11.

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

Shares of McCormick & Co. (NYSE:MKC) traded up 1.05% during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $92.16. The stock had a trading volume of 234,247 shares. The company has a 50-day moving average of $94.49 and a 200 day moving average of $98.78. The firm has a market cap of $11.62 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 25.44 and a beta of 0.50. McCormick & Co. has a one year low of $78.45 and a one year high of $107.84.

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

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, October 25th. Investors of record on Tuesday, October 11th were paid a $0.43 dividend. This represents a $1.72 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.89%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, October 6th. McCormick & Co.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 47.51%.

In related news, Director Freeman A. Hrabowski III sold 2,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, October 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $94.15, for a total value 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 document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 13.70% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of MKC. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. raised its position in shares of McCormick & Co. by 19.2% in the third quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 4,482,009 shares of the company’s stock valued at $447,842,000 after buying an additional 722,002 shares during the last quarter. First Trust Advisors LP raised its position in shares of McCormick & Co. by 108.3% in the second quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 1,070,844 shares of the company’s stock valued at $114,227,000 after buying an additional 556,724 shares during the last quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company purchased a new position in shares of McCormick & Co. during the third quarter valued at $35,854,000. Parnassus Investments CA raised its position in shares of McCormick & Co. by 13.4% in the third quarter. Parnassus Investments CA now owns 2,127,234 shares of the company’s stock valued at $212,553,000 after buying an additional 251,455 shares during the last quarter. Finally, BlackRock Inc. raised its position in shares of McCormick & Co. by 32.9% in the third quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 937,119 shares of the company’s stock valued at $93,638,000 after buying an additional 232,110 shares during the last quarter. 73.78% of the stock is currently 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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