Hershey Co (NYSE:HSY) has been given an average recommendation of “Hold” by the twenty-one research firms that are currently covering the firm, Marketbeat.com reports. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell recommendation, seventeen have issued a hold recommendation and three have issued a buy recommendation on the company. The average 12 month target price among analysts that have issued ratings on the stock in the last year is $144.67.

A number of equities analysts recently commented on HSY shares. Cfra downgraded shares of Hershey from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating and lowered their target price for the stock from $150.00 to $125.00 in a research note on Thursday, April 23rd. Deutsche Bank decreased their price objective on shares of Hershey from $155.00 to $154.00 and set a “hold” rating for the company in a research note on Thursday, April 16th. Credit Suisse Group restated a “buy” rating and issued a $152.00 price objective on shares of Hershey in a research note on Thursday, May 7th. Morgan Stanley decreased their price objective on shares of Hershey from $146.00 to $142.00 and set an “equal weight” rating for the company in a research note on Friday, May 8th. Finally, Edward Jones upgraded shares of Hershey from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, March 24th.

In related news, CEO Michele Buck sold 1,500 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, April 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $143.20, for a total transaction of $214,800.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 170,121 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $24,361,327.20. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Pamela M. Arway sold 347 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, April 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $142.37, for a total transaction of $49,402.39. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 15,945 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,270,089.65. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 29.39% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. State Street Corp increased its holdings in Hershey by 0.9% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 7,800,362 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,033,548,000 after buying an additional 71,064 shares in the last quarter. Royal Bank of Canada increased its holdings in Hershey by 14.7% in the first quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 456,905 shares of the company’s stock valued at $60,540,000 after buying an additional 58,692 shares in the last quarter. AXA increased its holdings in Hershey by 0.7% in the first quarter. AXA now owns 136,689 shares of the company’s stock valued at $18,112,000 after buying an additional 888 shares in the last quarter. Waterloo Capital L.P. purchased a new position in Hershey in the first quarter valued at about $258,000. Finally, Optimal Asset Management Inc. increased its holdings in Hershey by 113.7% in the first quarter. Optimal Asset Management Inc. now owns 90,219 shares of the company’s stock valued at $11,954,000 after buying an additional 48,005 shares in the last quarter. 52.54% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Shares of HSY stock traded up $2.06 on Friday, reaching $129.67. 14,364 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,278,885. The company has a current ratio of 0.99, a quick ratio of 0.70 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.06. The business’s 50 day moving average price is $131.66 and its 200 day moving average price is $142.02. The company has a market capitalization of $26.70 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.27, a PEG ratio of 2.86 and a beta of 0.17. Hershey has a twelve month low of $109.88 and a twelve month high of $162.20.

Hershey (NYSE:HSY) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, April 23rd. The company reported $1.63 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.71 by ($0.08). The firm had revenue of $2.04 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.09 billion. Hershey had a return on equity of 71.52% and a net margin of 13.94%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $1.59 EPS. Equities research analysts forecast that Hershey will post 5.75 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, June 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, May 22nd were paid a dividend of $0.773 per share. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, May 21st. This represents a $3.09 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.38%. Hershey’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 53.46%.

About Hershey

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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Analyst Recommendations for Hershey (NYSE:HSY)

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