Shares of Hershey Co. (NYSE:HSY) saw an uptick in trading volume on Friday . 2,541,171 shares traded hands during mid-day 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.

A number of brokerages have commented on HSY. S&P Equity Research upgraded Hershey from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and increased their price objective for the company from $94.00 to $126.00 in a research report on Tuesday, July 5th. Argus downgraded Hershey from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and increased their price target for the company from $97.14 to $111.95 in a research note on Tuesday, July 5th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reissued a “neutral” rating on shares of Hershey in a research note on Saturday, July 2nd. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reissued a “neutral” rating and issued a $89.00 price target on shares of Hershey in a research note on Saturday, July 2nd. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reissued a “neutral” rating on shares of Hershey in a research note on Friday, July 29th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have given a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company. Hershey currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $99.16.

The stock’s 50 day moving average is $110.64 and its 200-day moving average is $97.07. The stock has a market cap of $24.22 billion and a PE ratio of 33.27.

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

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

In other Hershey news, COO Michele Buck sold 10,369 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on 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 sale, the chief operating officer now owns 165,579 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $15,973,406.13. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, SVP D Michael Wege sold 1,100 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, June 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $96.51, for a total transaction of $106,161.00. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 27,388 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,643,215.88. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. BlackRock Advisors LLC boosted its stake in shares of Hershey by 32.2% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Advisors LLC now owns 170,028 shares of the company’s stock worth $15,178,000 after buying an additional 41,438 shares during the period. Utah Retirement Systems boosted its stake in shares of 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 during the period. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA boosted its stake 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 worth $4,215,000 after buying an additional 25,550 shares during the period. Advisors Asset Management Inc. boosted its stake in shares of 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 during the period. Finally, Principal Financial Group Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Hershey by 2.5% in the fourth quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 212,557 shares of the company’s stock worth $18,975,000 after buying an additional 5,219 shares during the period.

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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