Pilgrim’s Pride Co. (NASDAQ:PPC) was the recipient of a significant growth in short interest in July. As of July 31st, there was short interest totalling 3,265,000 shares, a growth of 17.8% from the June 30th total of 2,772,000 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 1,080,000 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 3.0 days. Currently, 6.2% of the shares of the stock are short sold.

NASDAQ:PPC traded down $1.13 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $28.38. 879,500 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,045,936. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $27.17. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.11, a current ratio of 1.78 and a quick ratio of 0.93. Pilgrim’s Pride has a fifty-two week low of $14.83 and a fifty-two week high of $30.35. The company has a market cap of $7.21 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.17 and a beta of 0.81.

Pilgrim’s Pride (NASDAQ:PPC) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, July 31st. The company reported $0.69 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.60 by $0.09. Pilgrim’s Pride had a net margin of 2.53% and a return on equity of 15.58%. The business had revenue of $2.84 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.86 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.53 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up .2% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts forecast that Pilgrim’s Pride will post 1.83 earnings per share for the current year.

A number of research firms have recently weighed in on PPC. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Pilgrim’s Pride from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday. Cleveland Research upgraded shares of Pilgrim’s Pride from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 22nd. TheStreet upgraded shares of Pilgrim’s Pride from a “c” rating to a “b-” rating in a research report on Tuesday, May 28th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Pilgrim’s Pride from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, April 18th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Pilgrim’s Pride from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, April 16th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, five have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Pilgrim’s Pride presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $25.94.

In other news, CFO Fabio Sandri sold 74,710 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $28.27, for a total value of $2,112,051.70. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 326,363 shares in the company, valued at approximately $9,226,282.01. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, CEO Jayson Penn sold 51,222 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $28.29, for a total transaction of $1,449,070.38. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 204,408 shares in the company, valued at $5,782,702.32. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 78.73% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Destination Wealth Management bought a new position in Pilgrim’s Pride during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $53,000. Point72 Hong Kong Ltd bought a new position in Pilgrim’s Pride during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $82,000. New York State Teachers Retirement System bought a new position in Pilgrim’s Pride during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $119,000. Meeder Asset Management Inc. bought a new position in Pilgrim’s Pride during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $138,000. Finally, NEXT Financial Group Inc bought a new position in Pilgrim’s Pride during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $176,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 18.83% of the company’s stock.

About Pilgrim’s Pride

Pilgrim's Pride Corporation engages in the production, processing, marketing, and distribution of fresh, frozen, and value-added chicken products in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, and Mexico. The company offers fresh chicken products, including pre-marinated or non-marinated refrigerated (nonfrozen) whole or cut-up chicken; and prepackaged case-ready chicken, such as whole chickens and chicken parts.

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