Hershey Co. (NYSE:HSY) shot up 1.4% during trading on Wednesday . The company traded as high as $113.12 and last traded at $113.01, with a volume of 641,498 shares changing hands. The stock had previously closed at $111.50.

A number of brokerages have recently commented on HSY. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Hershey from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Monday, May 2nd. Morgan Stanley reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Hershey in a research report on Tuesday, April 26th. RBC Capital Markets reiterated a “sector perform” rating and issued a $105.00 target price (up from $92.00) on shares of Hershey in a research report on Wednesday, July 27th. Tigress Financial cut shares of Hershey from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research report on Monday, July 11th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Hershey in a research report on Wednesday, April 27th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have issued a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $99.16.

The firm has a market capitalization of $24.18 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 33.22. The company’s 50-day moving average is $109.69 and its 200-day moving average is $96.66.

Hershey (NYSE:HSY) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, July 28th. The company reported $0.85 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.78 by $0.07. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.78 EPS. The firm earned $1.64 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.61 billion. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.7% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts expect that Hershey Co. will post $4.26 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, September 15th. Investors of record on Thursday, August 25th will be paid a $0.618 dividend. This is an increase from Hershey’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.58. This represents a $2.47 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.18%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, August 23rd.

In other news, COO Michele Buck sold 10,369 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, June 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $96.47, for a total transaction of $1,000,297.43. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief operating officer now owns 165,579 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $15,973,406.13. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, SVP Kevin R. Walling sold 13,568 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, June 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $96.12, for a total transaction of $1,304,156.16. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 43,783 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,208,421.96. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Several hedge funds and institutional investors recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Utah Retirement Systems increased its position in Hershey by 0.4% in the fourth quarter. Utah Retirement Systems now owns 26,186 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,338,000 after buying an additional 100 shares in the last quarter. Advisors Asset Management Inc. increased its position in Hershey by 73.2% in the fourth quarter. Advisors Asset Management Inc. now owns 35,711 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,188,000 after buying an additional 15,093 shares in the last quarter. Bridgewater Associates LP increased its position in Hershey by 160.6% in the fourth quarter. Bridgewater Associates LP now owns 38,783 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,462,000 after buying an additional 23,900 shares in the last quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA increased its position in Hershey by 117.9% in the fourth quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 47,221 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,215,000 after buying an additional 25,550 shares in the last quarter. Finally, American International Group Inc. increased its position in Hershey by 6.2% in the fourth quarter. American International Group Inc. now owns 82,996 shares of the company’s stock worth $7,409,000 after buying an additional 4,829 shares in the last quarter.

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

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