Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Kraft Heinz (NASDAQ:KHC) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Kraft Heinz has solid innovation initiatives planned in the foodservice space to fuel growth across all regions, while it is also making innovation efforts in its growing e-commerce channel. Talking of regions, the company witnessed sales improvements in the EMEA and ROW regions during the second quarter of 2018, buoyed by gains in condiments and sauces. The company expects these regions to sustain their organic sales momentum. We also commend Kraft Heinz’s solid cost saving and productivity efforts, which along with the aforementioned drivers should provide some cushion to the company that has lagged the industry in the past six months. The company’s U.S. sales have long been declining year over year, with lower cheese shipments being a concern in many quarters. Also, escalated input costs, mainly due to high freight and resin expenses dented the company’s EBITDA in the second quarter and may pose threats in the near term.”

KHC has been the subject of several other reports. BidaskClub raised Kraft Heinz from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Tuesday. Bank of America set a $85.00 price objective on Kraft Heinz and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Monday, August 6th. Jefferies Financial Group reissued a buy rating and set a $75.00 price objective on shares of Kraft Heinz in a report on Tuesday, August 7th. Credit Suisse Group raised Kraft Heinz to a hold rating and set a $52.00 price objective for the company in a report on Thursday, October 4th. Finally, Morgan Stanley initiated coverage on Kraft Heinz in a report on Monday, September 17th. They set an underweight rating and a $52.00 price objective for the company. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating, nine have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. Kraft Heinz presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $72.02.

Shares of KHC opened at $54.24 on Tuesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.48, a current ratio of 1.05 and a quick ratio of 0.70. The company has a market cap of $67.19 billion, a P/E ratio of 15.28, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.88 and a beta of 0.51. Kraft Heinz has a 12 month low of $53.03 and a 12 month high of $82.48.

Kraft Heinz (NASDAQ:KHC) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Friday, August 3rd. The company reported $1.00 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.92 by $0.08. The company had revenue of $6.69 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $6.57 billion. Kraft Heinz had a return on equity of 6.16% and a net margin of 40.85%. Kraft Heinz’s revenue was up .7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the business posted $0.98 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts predict that Kraft Heinz will post 3.71 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 14th. Stockholders of record on Friday, August 17th were issued a $0.625 dividend. This represents a $2.50 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.61%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, August 16th. Kraft Heinz’s payout ratio is currently 70.42%.

In other news, major shareholder Global Food Holdings Lp 3G sold 20,630,314 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $59.85, for a total value of $1,234,724,292.90. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Eduardo Pelleissone sold 35,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, August 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $63.85, for a total value of $2,234,750.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 26.81% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of KHC. Magellan Asset Management Ltd boosted its holdings in shares of Kraft Heinz by 39.6% in the second quarter. Magellan Asset Management Ltd now owns 33,621,370 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,112,094,000 after acquiring an additional 9,529,235 shares during the period. Federated Investors Inc. PA boosted its holdings in shares of Kraft Heinz by 39,913.8% in the second quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA now owns 3,407,179 shares of the company’s stock worth $214,038,000 after acquiring an additional 3,398,664 shares during the period. FMR LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Kraft Heinz by 34.4% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 8,254,817 shares of the company’s stock worth $518,567,000 after acquiring an additional 2,111,198 shares during the period. First Trust Advisors LP boosted its holdings in shares of Kraft Heinz by 36.7% in the second quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 2,179,768 shares of the company’s stock worth $136,933,000 after acquiring an additional 585,694 shares during the period. Finally, Gamco Investors INC. ET AL boosted its stake in Kraft Heinz by 291.1% during the second quarter. Gamco Investors INC. ET AL now owns 590,896 shares of the company’s stock valued at $37,120,000 after buying an additional 439,798 shares during the period. 62.82% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Kraft Heinz Company Profile

The Kraft Heinz Company manufactures and markets food and beverage products in the United States, Canada, Europe, and internationally. Its products include condiments and sauces, cheese and dairy products, meals, meats, refreshment beverages, coffee, and other grocery products. The company offers its products under the Kraft, Oscar Mayer, Heinz, Philadelphia, Lunchables, Velveeta, Planters, Maxwell House, Capri Sun, Ore-Ida, Kool-Aid, Jell-O, Cracker Barrel, P'Tit Cheese, Tassimo, Classico, Plasmon, Pudliszki, Honig, HP, Benedicta, ABC, Master, Quero, Golden Circle, Wattie's, Glucon D, and Complan names.

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