Sanderson Farms Inc. (NASDAQ:SAFM) saw unusually-strong trading volume on Thursday . Approximately 259,442 shares changed hands during trading, a decline of 3% from the previous session’s volume of 266,750 shares.The stock last traded at $93.06 and had previously closed at $91.80.

Several research analysts have commented on SAFM shares. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Sanderson Farms from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $102.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Thursday, August 11th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded Sanderson Farms from an “overweight” rating to a “neutral” rating and reduced their price objective for the stock from $96.00 to $95.00 in a report on Friday, May 27th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating, one has assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Sanderson Farms presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $81.71.

The company has a market cap of $2.12 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.42. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $88.20 and its 200 day moving average is $87.85.

Sanderson Farms (NASDAQ:SAFM) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, May 26th. The company reported $2.11 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.62 by $0.49. The business earned $692.10 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $671.61 million. The company’s revenue was down 3.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $3.13 earnings per share. Equities analysts forecast that Sanderson Farms Inc. will post $7.12 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, August 23rd. Investors of record on Tuesday, August 9th will be issued a $0.22 dividend. This represents a $0.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.94%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, August 5th.

A number of hedge funds and institutional investors have added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Comerica Bank boosted its position in Sanderson Farms by 2.0% in the fourth quarter. Comerica Bank now owns 17,106 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,283,000 after buying an additional 333 shares in the last quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund boosted its position in Sanderson Farms by 19.2% in the fourth quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund now owns 60,570 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,695,000 after buying an additional 9,772 shares in the last quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. boosted its position in Sanderson Farms by 6.6% in the fourth quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. now owns 29,108 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,256,000 after buying an additional 1,808 shares in the last quarter. Finally, US Bancorp DE boosted its position in Sanderson Farms by 95.1% in the fourth quarter. US Bancorp DE now owns 14,376 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,115,000 after buying an additional 7,006 shares in the last quarter.

Sanderson Farms, Inc is a poultry processing company. The Company is engaged in the production, processing, marketing and distribution of fresh and frozen chicken, and the preparation, processing, marketing and distribution of processed and prepared chicken items. The Company sells ice pack, chill pack, bulk pack and frozen chicken, in whole, cut-up and boneless form, primarily under the Sanderson Farms brand name to retailers, distributors and casual dining operators principally in the southeastern, southwestern, northeastern and western United States, and to customers reselling frozen chicken into export markets.

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