Morgan Stanley Downgrades Hershey (HSY) to Underweight
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 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.
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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.
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