ValuEngine upgraded shares of Hershey (NYSE:HSY) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Wednesday morning.

A number of other research analysts have also recently issued reports on the company. Credit Suisse Group raised Hershey from an underperform rating to a neutral rating and set a $104.00 target price for the company in a research note on Tuesday, October 30th. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $105.00 target price on Hershey and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Friday, October 26th. Susquehanna Bancshares boosted their target price on Hershey from $109.00 to $114.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 23rd. Zacks Investment Research raised Hershey from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $117.00 target price for the company in a research note on Monday, October 8th. Finally, Deutsche Bank set a $110.00 target price on Hershey and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Friday, September 14th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Hershey has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $103.81.

NYSE:HSY opened at $108.98 on Wednesday. Hershey has a 1 year low of $89.10 and a 1 year high of $115.82. The company has a quick ratio of 0.69, a current ratio of 1.01 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.60. The stock has a market capitalization of $22.63 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.89, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.37 and a beta of 0.18.

Hershey (NYSE:HSY) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $1.55 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.55. Hershey had a return on equity of 102.30% and a net margin of 13.20%. The firm had revenue of $2.08 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.08 billion. As a group, equities research analysts anticipate that Hershey will post 5.37 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 14th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, November 21st will be issued a $0.722 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, November 20th. This represents a $2.89 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.65%. Hershey’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 60.71%.

In related news, insider Michele Buck sold 1,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $107.86, for a total transaction of $161,790.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 169,394 shares in the company, valued at $18,270,836.84. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, major shareholder Hershey Trust Co Trustee In Tr sold 47,170 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $106.00, for a total value of $5,000,020.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 102,330 shares in the company, valued at approximately $10,846,980. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 90,881 shares of company stock worth $9,579,554. Corporate insiders own 0.87% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in HSY. Stonebridge Capital Advisors LLC raised its stake in Hershey by 3.4% in the third quarter. Stonebridge Capital Advisors LLC now owns 15,023 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,532,000 after buying an additional 490 shares during the period. Hamel Associates Inc. raised its stake in Hershey by 17.5% in the third quarter. Hamel Associates Inc. now owns 3,525 shares of the company’s stock valued at $360,000 after buying an additional 525 shares during the period. First National Trust Co raised its stake in Hershey by 8.5% in the third quarter. First National Trust Co now owns 6,756 shares of the company’s stock valued at $689,000 after buying an additional 529 shares during the period. CIBC Asset Management Inc raised its stake in Hershey by 2.9% in the second quarter. CIBC Asset Management Inc now owns 18,971 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,765,000 after buying an additional 541 shares during the period. Finally, FTB Advisors Inc. raised its stake in 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 buying an additional 607 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 52.10% 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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Analyst Recommendations for Hershey (NYSE:HSY)

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