Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of General Mills (NYSE:GIS) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note released on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “General Mills' consumer-focused innovation, marketing initiatives and robust restructuring savings are making up for the tepid revenue growth. The company is currently pursuing several initiatives focused on improving operational efficiency to generate cost savings and support its key growth strategies. That said, sales and profits at the company’s North America Retail segment, contributing 64.8% to its sales, have been soft. The North American food industry has seen sluggish growth and slowdown in consumption over the last few quarters owing to changes in consumer preference. General Mills' shares have underperformed the industry in the last six months. Meanwhile, earnings estimates have moved 2.5% down for the current year and 6.5% for the next over the last 30 days, reflecting analysts' apprehensions over the stock’s earnings prospect.”

Other equities analysts have also issued reports about the company. Jefferies Group restated a buy rating and set a $63.00 price target on shares of General Mills in a research report on Friday, February 23rd. Wells Fargo set a $65.00 price objective on General Mills and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Thursday, December 21st. Citigroup dropped their price objective on General Mills from $71.00 to $69.00 and set a buy rating for the company in a report on Tuesday, February 27th. TheStreet cut General Mills from a b- rating to a c+ rating in a report on Monday, April 2nd. Finally, Morgan Stanley dropped their price objective on General Mills from $58.00 to $48.00 and set an equal weight rating for the company in a report on Thursday, March 22nd. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fourteen have assigned a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. General Mills presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $53.71.

GIS opened at $43.41 on Tuesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.34, a quick ratio of 0.45 and a current ratio of 0.69. General Mills has a 1 year low of $43.18 and a 1 year high of $60.69. The company has a market cap of $25,453.33, a P/E ratio of 14.09, a P/E/G ratio of 2.01 and a beta of 0.76.

General Mills (NYSE:GIS) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, March 21st. The company reported $0.79 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.78 by $0.01. General Mills had a return on equity of 37.64% and a net margin of 13.96%. The business had revenue of $3.88 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.87 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.72 EPS. General Mills’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.3% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts forecast that General Mills will post 3.09 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, May 1st. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, April 10th will be paid a $0.49 dividend. This represents a $1.96 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.52%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, April 9th. General Mills’s payout ratio is presently 63.64%.

General Mills declared that its board has approved a share buyback plan on Friday, February 23rd that permits the company to repurchase shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are often an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in GIS. Avestar Capital LLC purchased a new position in shares of General Mills in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $100,000. Truewealth LLC purchased a new position in shares of General Mills in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $119,000. Financial Gravity Companies Inc. purchased a new position in shares of General Mills in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $131,000. Delpha Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of General Mills in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $161,000. Finally, Front Row Advisors LLC purchased a new position in shares of General Mills in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $166,000. Institutional investors own 74.22% of the company’s stock.

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About General Mills

General Mills, Inc manufactures and markets branded consumer foods in the United States. The company operates in four segments: North America Retail; Convenience Stores & Foodservice; Europe & Australia; and Asia & Latin America. It offers ready-to-eat cereals, refrigerated yogurt, soup, meal kits, refrigerated and frozen dough products, dessert and baking mixes, frozen pizza and pizza snacks, shelf stable and frozen vegetables, and ice cream and frozen desserts, as well as grain, fruit and savory snacks; and various organic products, including nutrition bars, meal kits, salty snacks, and ready-to-eat cereal.

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