Monsanto Co. (NYSE:MON) saw unusually-strong trading volume on Wednesday . Approximately 3,212,589 shares changed hands during trading, an increase of 59% from the previous session’s volume of 2,014,414 shares.The stock last traded at $104.00 and had previously closed at $105.44.

A number of equities analysts have commented on MON shares. Vertical Research upgraded shares of Monsanto from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, May 23rd. Vetr downgraded shares of Monsanto from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $89.50 price objective for the company. in a research report on Tuesday, April 19th. Deutsche Bank AG restated a “buy” rating and set a $118.00 price objective on shares of Monsanto in a research report on Thursday, June 30th. Berenberg Bank set a $110.00 price objective on shares of Monsanto and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, May 13th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Monsanto from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, June 8th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating, sixteen have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $109.69.

The firm has a market capitalization of $45.61 billion and a PE ratio of 45.88. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $104.62 and its 200-day moving average is $97.55.

Monsanto (NYSE:MON) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, June 29th. The company reported $2.17 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $2.40 by $0.23. The firm had revenue of $4.19 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.49 billion. During the same period last year, the business posted $2.39 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 8.5% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts anticipate that Monsanto Co. will post $4.46 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 28th. Stockholders of record on Friday, October 7th will be issued a dividend of $0.54 per share. This represents a $2.16 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.07%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, October 5th.

In other news, CEO Michael K. Stern sold 12,797 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, July 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $101.77, for a total transaction of $1,302,350.69. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 21,583 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,196,501.91. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, COO Brett D. Begemann sold 27,980 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, July 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $103.62, for a total transaction of $2,899,287.60. Following the transaction, the chief operating officer now directly owns 102,480 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $10,618,977.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in MON. KBC Group NV increased its position in shares of Monsanto by 13.8% in the fourth quarter. KBC Group NV now owns 129,250 shares of the company’s stock valued at $12,733,000 after buying an additional 15,681 shares during the period. Frontier Investment Mgmt Co. increased its position in shares of Monsanto by 135.1% in the fourth quarter. Frontier Investment Mgmt Co. now owns 27,285 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,688,000 after buying an additional 15,681 shares during the period. BlackRock Advisors LLC increased its position in shares of Monsanto by 49.9% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Advisors LLC now owns 1,138,888 shares of the company’s stock valued at $112,203,000 after buying an additional 379,225 shares during the period. Advisors Asset Management Inc. increased its position in shares of Monsanto by 42.9% in the fourth quarter. Advisors Asset Management Inc. now owns 37,014 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,647,000 after buying an additional 11,109 shares during the period. Finally, US Bancorp DE increased its position in shares of Monsanto by 0.4% in the fourth quarter. US Bancorp DE now owns 344,555 shares of the company’s stock valued at $33,946,000 after buying an additional 1,297 shares during the period.

Monsanto Company (Monsanto) is a provider of agricultural products for farmers. The Company’s seeds, biotechnology trait products, and herbicides provide farmers with solutions that improve productivity, reduce the costs of farming, and produce better foods for consumers and better feed for animals. It manages business in two segments: Seeds and Genomics, and Agricultural Productivity.

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