Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. increased its stake in shares of Hershey Co (NYSE:HSY) by 9.3% during the second quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 59,429 shares of the company’s stock after acquiring an additional 5,058 shares during the quarter. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc.’s holdings in Hershey were worth $5,531,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds have also bought and sold shares of HSY. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in Hershey during the second quarter worth $148,000. Cerebellum GP LLC acquired a new stake in Hershey during the second quarter worth $179,000. Private Capital Group LLC boosted its stake in Hershey by 55.8% during the first quarter. Private Capital Group LLC now owns 1,869 shares of the company’s stock worth $185,000 after buying an additional 669 shares in the last quarter. Castleview Partners LLC acquired a new stake in Hershey during the first quarter worth $204,000. Finally, Fisher Asset Management LLC acquired a new stake in Hershey during the first quarter worth $220,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 53.30% of the company’s stock.

HSY has been the topic of a number of recent research reports. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Hershey from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Monday, May 28th. Credit Suisse Group downgraded shares of Hershey from a “neutral” rating to a “sell” rating and decreased their price target for the stock from $90.00 to $80.00 in a research note on Wednesday, June 13th. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Hershey from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 19th. Morgan Stanley set a $93.00 price target on shares of Hershey and gave the stock a “sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, April 18th. Finally, Argus downgraded shares of Hershey from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 2nd. Six research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $102.35.

Shares of NYSE:HSY opened at $97.70 on Friday. Hershey Co has a 52 week low of $89.10 and a 52 week high of $115.82. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 3.05, a quick ratio of 0.58 and a current ratio of 0.94. The firm has a market capitalization of $20.44 billion, a PE ratio of 19.90, a PEG ratio of 2.08 and a beta of 0.32.

Hershey (NYSE:HSY) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, July 26th. The company reported $1.14 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.10 by $0.04. Hershey had a net margin of 13.40% and a return on equity of 108.82%. The company had revenue of $1.75 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.74 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $1.09 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.3% compared to the same quarter last year. sell-side analysts forecast that Hershey Co will post 5.36 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 14th. Stockholders of record on Friday, August 24th will be paid a $0.722 dividend. This represents a $2.89 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.96%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, August 23rd. This is an increase from Hershey’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.66. Hershey’s payout ratio is currently 55.04%.

In related news, insider Michele Buck sold 1,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of $92.26, for a total transaction of $138,390.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 175,394 shares in the company, valued at approximately $16,181,850.44. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director David L. Shedlarz sold 5,450 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $91.25, for a total transaction of $497,312.50. Following the transaction, the director now owns 11,723 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,069,723.75. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.92% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Hershey Profile

The Hershey Company, together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells confectionery products. The company operates through two segments, North America; and International and Other. It offers chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery products; gum and mint refreshment products comprising mints, chewing gums, and bubble gums; pantry items, such as baking ingredients, toppings, beverages, and sundae syrups; and snack items, including spreads, meat snacks, bars and snack bites, mixes, popcorn and protein bars, and cookies.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Hershey (NYSE:HSY)

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