Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of McCormick & Co. (NYSE:MKC) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Thursday. They currently have $109.00 target price on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Estimates have largely been stable ahead of McCormick’s third quarter of fiscal 2016 results. In fact, the company has been delivering better-than-expected earnings in the last three consecutive quarters. McCormick has been witnessing rising demand for spices, herbs and seasonings over the last few years, which is boosting its sales. McCormick is also focusing on building sales through brand marketing investments and acquisitions. The company’s recent acquisitions are expected to boost revenues in the coming quarters. McCormick has also been regularly launching new products in order to remain competitive. The company also remains optimistic on its higher pricing and cost savings initiatives. The company also expects lower impact from currency headwinds in 2016. However, higher brand marketing expenses and higher input costs also remain headwinds.”

Several other research analysts also recently commented on MKC. Deutsche Bank AG reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $113.00 price target (up previously from $110.00) on shares of McCormick & Co. in a research note on Sunday, June 26th. Citigroup Inc. reissued a neutral rating on shares of McCormick & Co. in a research report on Tuesday, July 5th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $97.24.

McCormick & Co. (NYSE:MKC) opened at 96.38 on Thursday. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $100.46 and its 200 day moving average is $99.05. The stock has a market capitalization of $12.21 billion, a PE ratio of 28.58 and a beta of 0.48. McCormick & Co. has a 12-month low of $77.65 and a 12-month high of $107.84.

McCormick & Co. (NYSE:MKC) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, June 30th. The company reported $0.75 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.74 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $1.06 billion for the quarter. McCormick & Co. had a net margin of 9.96% and a return on equity of 26.08%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 3.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.75 EPS. Equities analysts anticipate that McCormick & Co. will post $3.75 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other news, CFO Gordon Mckenzie Stetz, Jr. sold 38,900 shares of McCormick & Co. stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, July 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $105.17, for a total transaction of $4,091,113.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 94,012 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $9,887,242.04. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director Patricia A. Little sold 3,750 shares of McCormick & Co. stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $107.22, for a total transaction of $402,075.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 13,227 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,418,198.94. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 13.70% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of MKC. Van ECK Associates Corp raised its position in McCormick & Co. by 29.3% in the second quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp now owns 1,045 shares of the company’s stock valued at $111,000 after buying an additional 237 shares during the period. Coconut Grove Bank raised its position in McCormick & Co. by 1.1% in the second quarter. Coconut Grove Bank now owns 1,145 shares of the company’s stock valued at $122,000 after buying an additional 12 shares during the period. Mizuho Asset Management Co. Ltd. raised its position in McCormick & Co. by 90.4% in the second quarter. Mizuho Asset Management Co. Ltd. now owns 1,331 shares of the company’s stock valued at $142,000 after buying an additional 632 shares during the period. Meeder Asset Management Inc. raised its position in McCormick & Co. by 151.2% in the second quarter. Meeder Asset Management Inc. now owns 1,575 shares of the company’s stock valued at $169,000 after buying an additional 948 shares during the period. Finally, Ferguson Wellman Capital Management Inc. purchased a new position in McCormick & Co. during the second quarter valued at $207,000. 72.41% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

McCormick & Co. Company Profile

McCormick & Company, Incorporated manufactures, markets and distributes spices, seasoning mixes, condiments and other flavorful products to the food industry, including retailers, food manufacturers and foodservice businesses. The Company operates in two segments: consumer and industrial. Its brands in the Americas include McCormick, Lawry’s, Stubb’s, Club House, Zatarain’s, Thai Kitchen and Simply Asia.

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