Hershey (NYSE:HSY) was downgraded by equities research analysts at Morgan Stanley from an “equal weight” rating to an “underweight” rating in a research report issued on Wednesday, The Fly reports.

HSY has been the topic of several other research reports. Royal Bank of Canada reissued a “hold” rating and set a $122.00 target price on shares of Hershey in a report on Friday, December 22nd. Zacks Investment Research raised Hershey from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $122.00 price target on the stock in a report on Monday, October 2nd. Berenberg Bank raised Hershey from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $90.00 price target on the stock in a report on Monday, December 18th. UBS Group lowered their price objective on shares of Hershey from $110.00 to $106.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a research report on Friday, October 27th. Finally, Susquehanna Bancshares set a $113.00 price objective on shares of Hershey and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 26th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company. Hershey presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $114.02.

Hershey (NYSE:HSY) opened at $113.78 on Wednesday. The company has a market capitalization of $23,970.00, a PE ratio of 33.86, a P/E/G ratio of 2.82 and a beta of 0.38. Hershey has a 52 week low of $101.61 and a 52 week high of $116.49. The company has a quick ratio of 0.55, a current ratio of 0.95 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.45.

Hershey (NYSE:HSY) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The company reported $1.33 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.29 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $2.03 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.01 billion. Hershey had a return on equity of 124.06% and a net margin of 9.52%. Hershey’s quarterly revenue was up 1.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $1.29 earnings per share. analysts anticipate that Hershey will post 4.8 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Hershey declared that its board has authorized a share buyback program on Thursday, October 26th that permits the company to buyback $100.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization permits the company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are generally an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

In other news, insider Michele Buck sold 400 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, December 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $114.95, for a total transaction of $45,980.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 164,097 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $18,862,950.15. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, SVP D Michael Wege sold 15,517 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, November 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $108.18, for a total transaction of $1,678,629.06. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 17,817 shares of company stock valued at $1,932,295. Company insiders own 0.92% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in Hershey by 5.5% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 10,664,194 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,145,016,000 after acquiring an additional 557,846 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its stake in Hershey by 2.8% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 9,545,096 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,024,857,000 after buying an additional 260,072 shares during the last quarter. State Street Corp grew its stake in Hershey by 1.2% during the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 6,270,169 shares of the company’s stock worth $673,225,000 after buying an additional 75,548 shares during the last quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC grew its stake in Hershey by 15.4% during the third quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 4,368,862 shares of the company’s stock worth $476,949,000 after buying an additional 582,715 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Northern Trust Corp grew its stake in Hershey by 0.3% during the second quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 1,825,282 shares of the company’s stock worth $195,980,000 after buying an additional 5,796 shares during the last quarter. 51.24% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

TRADEMARK VIOLATION WARNING: This report was posted by The Cerbat Gem and is the property of of The Cerbat Gem. If you are reading this report on another site, it was copied illegally and republished in violation of United States & international copyright and trademark law. The original version of this report can be viewed at https://www.thecerbatgem.com/2018/01/10/morgan-stanley-downgrades-hershey-hsy-to-underweight.html.

About Hershey

The Hershey Company is a producer of chocolate in North America. The Company’s principal product offerings include chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery products; gum and mint refreshment products; pantry items, such as baking ingredients and beverages, and snack items, such as spreads, meat snacks, bars and snack bites and mixes.

The Fly

Analyst Recommendations for Hershey (NYSE:HSY)

Receive News & Stock Ratings for Hershey Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Hershey and related stocks with our FREE daily email newsletter.