Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Over the last twelve months, Monsanto's shares outperformed the industry. The company reported better-than-expected third-quarter fiscal 2017 results. Increasing demand for crop-yield enhancing products, stronger innovation and success of Bayer's buyout deal are anticipated to bolster Monsanto's top- and bottom-line performance in the quarters ahead. However, challenging pricing conditions prevailing in the agricultural market might limit near-term growth. In addition, headwinds like weaker currencies of major overseas markets, such as Brazil, or stiff industry rivalry remain major causes of worry. Over the last 30 days, Zacks Consensus Estimate for the stock has remained unchanged for fiscal 2018.”

Other equities research analysts have also issued reports about the company. Vetr raised Monsanto from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $122.35 target price for the company in a research report on Thursday, July 6th. UBS AG lowered Monsanto from a buy rating to a neutral rating and set a $128.00 target price for the company. in a research report on Friday, August 18th. BidaskClub raised Monsanto from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Saturday, August 19th. Royal Bank Of Canada reaffirmed a sector perform rating and set a $128.00 target price (up from $120.00) on shares of Monsanto in a research report on Thursday, June 29th. Finally, Citigroup Inc. reaffirmed a neutral rating and set a $126.00 target price (up from $125.00) on shares of Monsanto in a research report on Monday, July 10th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have assigned a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $123.43.

Shares of Monsanto (NYSE:MON) opened at 116.88 on Wednesday. Monsanto has a 12-month low of $97.35 and a 12-month high of $118.97. The company’s 50 day moving average is $117.23 and its 200 day moving average is $115.65. The company has a market capitalization of $51.35 billion, a P/E ratio of 25.24 and a beta of 1.07.

Monsanto (NYSE:MON) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, June 28th. The basic materials company reported $1.93 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.74 by $0.19. The business had revenue of $4.23 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.18 billion. Monsanto had a return on equity of 45.26% and a net margin of 14.11%. Monsanto’s quarterly revenue was up 1.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $2.17 EPS. Analysts expect that Monsanto will post $4.89 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 27th. Shareholders of record on Friday, October 6th will be paid a $0.54 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, October 5th. This represents a $2.16 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.85%. Monsanto’s dividend payout ratio is currently 46.75%.

In other Monsanto news, EVP Robert T. Fraley sold 52,410 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $117.95, for a total value of $6,181,759.50. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, SVP Janet M. Holloway sold 7,423 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, June 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $118.00, for a total value of $875,914.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 33,645 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,970,110. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 74,470 shares of company stock valued at $8,791,281. 0.79% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in shares of Monsanto by 2,390.1% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 26,192,816 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,965,029,000 after buying an additional 25,140,936 shares in the last quarter. OZ Management LP bought a new position in shares of Monsanto during the second quarter valued at approximately $242,786,000. York Capital Management Global Advisors LLC increased its position in shares of Monsanto by 58.4% in the first quarter. York Capital Management Global Advisors LLC now owns 4,087,116 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $462,662,000 after buying an additional 1,506,057 shares in the last quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC increased its position in shares of Monsanto by 2,540.4% in the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 1,491,324 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $176,515,000 after buying an additional 1,434,844 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Flossbach Von Storch AG increased its position in shares of Monsanto by 33.9% in the first quarter. Flossbach Von Storch AG now owns 4,089,400 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $462,920,000 after buying an additional 1,034,400 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 74.79% of the company’s stock.

About Monsanto

Monsanto Company (Monsanto), along with its subsidiaries, is a provider of agricultural products for farmers. The Company provides seeds, biotechnology trait products, herbicides and digital agriculture tools to farmers. The Company operates through two segments: Seeds and Genomics, and Agricultural Productivity.

Analyst Recommendations for Monsanto (NYSE:MON)

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