Shares of Hershey Co. (NYSE:HSY) saw unusually-strong trading volume on Friday . Approximately 2,541,171 shares changed hands during trading, an increase of 118% from the previous session’s volume of 1,163,593 shares.The stock last traded at $113.62 and had previously closed at $113.07.

Several analysts have issued reports on HSY shares. BMO Capital Markets reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Hershey in a report on Wednesday, April 27th. Morgan Stanley reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Hershey in a research note on Tuesday, April 26th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Hershey from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Monday, May 2nd. Bank of America Corp. reaffirmed a “sell” rating and issued a $90.00 price objective on shares of Hershey in a research note on Wednesday, May 11th. Finally, Citigroup Inc. reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $102.00 price objective on shares of Hershey in a research note on Wednesday, June 15th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have given a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $99.16.

The firm has a 50 day moving average of $110.64 and a 200 day moving average of $97.07. The firm has a market cap of $24.22 billion and a PE ratio of 33.27.

Hershey (NYSE:HSY) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 28th. The company reported $0.85 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.78 by $0.07. The business earned $1.64 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.61 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.78 EPS. Hershey’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.7% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts anticipate that Hershey Co. will post $4.26 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared 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 a positive change from Hershey’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.58. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, August 23rd. This represents a $2.47 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.18%.

In related news, SVP D Michael Wege sold 1,100 shares of Hershey stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, June 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $96.51, for a total value of $106,161.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 27,388 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,643,215.88. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, COO Michele Buck sold 10,369 shares of Hershey stock in a transaction dated Thursday, June 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $96.47, for a total value 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 disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Other institutional investors have made changes to their positions in the company. Bridgewater Associates LP raised its position in shares of Hershey by 160.6% in the fourth quarter. Bridgewater Associates LP now owns 38,783 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,462,000 after buying an additional 23,900 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Advisors LLC raised its position in shares of Hershey by 32.2% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Advisors LLC now owns 170,028 shares of the company’s stock valued at $15,178,000 after buying an additional 41,438 shares in the last quarter. Utah Retirement Systems raised its position in shares of Hershey by 0.4% in the fourth quarter. Utah Retirement Systems now owns 26,186 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,338,000 after buying an additional 100 shares in the last quarter. KBC Group NV raised its position in shares of Hershey by 261.9% in the fourth quarter. KBC Group NV now owns 178,143 shares of the company’s stock valued at $15,903,000 after buying an additional 128,923 shares in the last quarter. Finally, BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA raised its position in shares of Hershey by 117.9% in the fourth quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 47,221 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,215,000 after buying an additional 25,550 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.

Get Analysts' Upgrades and Downgrades Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of analysts' upgrades, downgrades and new coverage with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.