Monsanto Company (MON) Lifted to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note released on Thursday. The firm currently has $132.00 target price on the basic materials company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Monsanto's shares have outperformed the industry in a year's time. The company reported better-than-expected results for third-quarter fiscal 2017. Increasing demand for crop-yield enhancing products, such as Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Soybeans, and launch of non-imitable technological solutions are likely to boost the company's top-line performance, moving ahead. Further, robust top-line performance, higher planted acreage, as well as lower U.S. corn and soybean costs are expected to bolster bottom-line results in near term. Also, the successful accomplishment of Bayer's buyout deal is anticipated to open up a number of opportunities for Monsanto. Over the last 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the stock moved north for fiscal 2018.”

A number of other research firms have also issued reports on MON. BidaskClub raised Monsanto from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Thursday, June 29th. Barclays PLC raised their target price on Monsanto from $115.00 to $120.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a report on Thursday, June 29th. Royal Bank Of Canada reaffirmed a sector perform rating and issued a $128.00 target price (up previously from $120.00) on shares of Monsanto in a report on Thursday, June 29th. Citigroup Inc. reaffirmed a neutral rating and issued a $126.00 target price (up previously from $125.00) on shares of Monsanto in a report on Monday, July 10th. Finally, Vetr lowered Monsanto from a buy rating to a hold rating and set a $122.35 target price on the stock. in a report on Wednesday, August 2nd. Ten research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $124.09.

Monsanto (NYSE:MON) opened at 118.27 on Thursday. Monsanto has a 12-month low of $97.35 and a 12-month high of $118.97. The stock has a market cap of $51.96 billion, a PE ratio of 25.54 and a beta of 1.07. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $117.25 and a 200-day moving average price of $116.44.

Monsanto (NYSE:MON) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, June 28th. The basic materials company reported $1.93 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.74 by $0.19. Monsanto had a return on equity of 45.26% and a net margin of 14.11%. The business had revenue of $4.23 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.18 billion. During the same period last year, the business earned $2.17 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 1.0% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts forecast that Monsanto will post $4.89 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 27th. Shareholders of record on Friday, October 6th will be given a $0.54 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, October 5th. This represents a $2.16 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.83%. Monsanto’s payout ratio is 46.75%.

In other Monsanto news, EVP Steven Mizell sold 11,300 shares of Monsanto stock in a transaction on Monday, July 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $118.57, for a total value of $1,339,841.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 55,011 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,522,654.27. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, EVP Robert T. Fraley sold 52,410 shares of Monsanto stock in a transaction on Monday, July 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $117.95, for a total value of $6,181,759.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.79% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in shares of Monsanto by 2,390.1% during the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 26,192,816 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $2,965,029,000 after acquiring an additional 25,140,936 shares during the last quarter. OZ Management LP bought a new stake in shares of Monsanto during the second quarter worth $242,786,000. York Capital Management Global Advisors LLC raised its position in shares of Monsanto by 58.4% during the first quarter. York Capital Management Global Advisors LLC now owns 4,087,116 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $462,662,000 after acquiring an additional 1,506,057 shares during the last quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC raised its position in shares of Monsanto by 2,540.4% during the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 1,491,324 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $176,515,000 after acquiring an additional 1,434,844 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Flossbach Von Storch AG raised its position in shares of Monsanto by 33.9% during the first quarter. Flossbach Von Storch AG now owns 4,089,400 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $462,920,000 after acquiring an additional 1,034,400 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 74.79% of the company’s stock.

Monsanto Company Profile

Monsanto Company (Monsanto), along with its subsidiaries, is a provider of agricultural products for farmers. The Company provides seeds, biotechnology trait products, herbicides and digital agriculture tools to farmers. The Company operates through two segments: Seeds and Genomics, and Agricultural Productivity.

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