Analysts expect that Hershey Co (NYSE:HSY) will report sales of $2.09 billion for the current fiscal quarter, according to Zacks. Five analysts have provided estimates for Hershey’s earnings. The highest sales estimate is $2.13 billion and the lowest is $2.04 billion. Hershey posted sales of $2.03 billion during the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year-over-year growth rate of 3%. The business is expected to issue its next earnings report on Thursday, October 25th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Hershey will report full-year sales of $7.81 billion for the current year, with estimates ranging from $7.79 billion to $7.84 billion. For the next financial year, analysts forecast that the company will post sales of $7.90 billion per share, with estimates ranging from $7.78 billion to $7.98 billion. Zacks’ sales calculations are a mean average based on a survey of analysts that cover Hershey.

Hershey (NYSE:HSY) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 26th. The company reported $1.14 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.10 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $1.75 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.74 billion. Hershey had a return on equity of 108.82% and a net margin of 13.40%. The company’s revenue was up 5.3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $1.09 earnings per share.

A number of brokerages have recently commented on HSY. Deutsche Bank set a $110.00 target price on Hershey and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday. Credit Suisse Group set a $85.00 target price on Hershey and gave the stock a “sell” rating in a research note on Thursday. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $100.00 target price on Hershey and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 29th. ValuEngine upgraded Hershey from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 15th. Finally, Morgan Stanley upped their target price on Hershey from $93.00 to $98.00 and gave the stock an “underweight” rating in a research note on Friday, July 27th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $102.78.

Shares of HSY stock traded down $1.17 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $104.80. The stock had a trading volume of 11,518 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,074,103. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 3.05, a quick ratio of 0.58 and a current ratio of 0.94. The firm has a market capitalization of $22.18 billion, a PE ratio of 22.07, a P/E/G ratio of 2.26 and a beta of 0.32. Hershey has a 1-year low of $89.10 and a 1-year high of $115.82.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 14th. Shareholders of record on Friday, August 24th were given a dividend of $0.722 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, August 23rd. This represents a $2.89 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.76%. This is an increase from Hershey’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.66. Hershey’s dividend payout ratio is currently 60.71%.

In other Hershey news, SVP Kevin R. Walling sold 30,835 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $101.18, for a total transaction of $3,119,885.30. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 57,611 shares in the company, valued at $5,829,080.98. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Michele Buck sold 1,500 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $92.26, for a total value of $138,390.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 175,394 shares in the company, valued at approximately $16,181,850.44. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 33,835 shares of company stock worth $3,411,125 in the last quarter. 0.92% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of HSY. FTB Advisors Inc. lifted its position in shares of Hershey by 108.4% in the second quarter. FTB Advisors Inc. now owns 1,167 shares of the company’s stock valued at $107,000 after acquiring an additional 607 shares in the last quarter. Farmers & Merchants Trust Co of Chambersburg PA purchased a new position in shares of Hershey in the second quarter valued at approximately $121,000. Fort L.P. purchased a new position in shares of Hershey in the second quarter valued at approximately $123,000. Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC purchased a new position in shares of Hershey in the second quarter valued at approximately $130,000. Finally, grace capital purchased a new position in shares of Hershey in the second quarter valued at approximately $130,000. Institutional investors own 52.70% of the company’s stock.

About Hershey

The Hershey Company, together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells confectionery products. The company operates through two segments, North America; and International and Other. It offers chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery products; gum and mint refreshment products comprising mints, chewing gums, and bubble gums; pantry items, such as baking ingredients, toppings, beverages, and sundae syrups; and snack items, including spreads, meat snacks, bars and snack bites, mixes, popcorn and protein bars, and cookies.

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