Shares of Monsanto Co. (NYSE:MON) saw an uptick in trading volume on Wednesday . 3,212,589 shares changed hands during mid-day 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 brokerages recently issued reports on MON. TheStreet upgraded shares of Monsanto to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, May 26th. Vetr lowered shares of Monsanto from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $117.33 price objective for the company. in a report on Monday, May 30th. Deutsche Bank AG reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $100.00 price objective on shares of Monsanto in a report on Wednesday, June 1st. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Monsanto from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, May 3rd. Finally, Sanford C. Bernstein reiterated a “sell” rating on shares of Monsanto in a report on Sunday, May 29th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating, sixteen have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $109.88.

The firm has a market cap of $45.53 billion and a P/E ratio of 45.80. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $104.64 and a 200-day moving average price of $97.60.

Monsanto (NYSE:MON) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, June 29th. The company reported $2.17 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.40 by $0.23. The company earned $4.19 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.49 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $2.39 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 8.5% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts predict 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. Investors of record on Friday, October 7th will be paid a $0.54 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, October 5th. This represents a $2.16 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.08%.

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

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Advisors Asset Management Inc. boosted its stake 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 last quarter. US Bancorp DE boosted its stake in Monsanto by 0.4% in the fourth quarter. US Bancorp DE now owns 344,555 shares of the company’s stock worth $33,946,000 after buying an additional 1,297 shares in the last quarter. KBC Group NV boosted its stake in Monsanto by 13.8% in the fourth quarter. KBC Group NV now owns 129,250 shares of the company’s stock worth $12,733,000 after buying an additional 15,681 shares in the last quarter. Finally, BlackRock Advisors LLC boosted its stake in Monsanto by 49.9% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Advisors LLC now owns 1,138,888 shares of the company’s stock worth $112,203,000 after buying an additional 379,225 shares in the last quarter.

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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