Zacks: Brokerages Expect Hershey Co (HSY) to Announce $1.55 EPS

Brokerages forecast that Hershey Co (NYSE:HSY) will post earnings of $1.55 per share for the current fiscal quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research. Five analysts have issued estimates for Hershey’s earnings, with the lowest EPS estimate coming in at $1.50 and the highest estimate coming in at $1.60. Hershey posted earnings of $1.33 per share during the same quarter last year, which would indicate a positive year-over-year growth rate of 16.5%. The firm is scheduled to report its next earnings report on Thursday, October 25th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Hershey will report full year earnings of $5.36 per share for the current year, with EPS estimates ranging from $5.34 to $5.39. For the next year, analysts forecast that the firm will report earnings of $5.65 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $5.50 to $5.81. Zacks Investment Research’s EPS calculations are an average based on a survey of research firms that that provide coverage for Hershey.

Hershey (NYSE:HSY) last released its earnings results on Thursday, July 26th. The company reported $1.14 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.10 by $0.04. The firm had revenue of $1.75 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations 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 quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.09 EPS.

HSY has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. Stifel Nicolaus increased their price objective on shares of Hershey from $90.00 to $95.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, July 27th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Hershey from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 4th. Consumer Edge downgraded shares of Hershey from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Monday, July 9th. Credit Suisse Group increased their price objective on shares of Hershey from $80.00 to $85.00 and gave the stock a “sell” rating in a research note on Friday, July 27th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies set a $100.00 price objective on shares of Hershey and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 29th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have issued a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company. Hershey has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $102.35.

HSY stock traded up $1.78 during trading hours on Wednesday, reaching $106.02. 1,404,900 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,236,522. The stock has a market cap of $21.69 billion, a PE ratio of 22.27, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.21 and a beta of 0.32. The company has a current ratio of 0.94, a quick ratio of 0.58 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 3.05. Hershey has a 12 month low of $89.10 and a 12 month high of $115.82.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 14th. Investors of record on Friday, August 24th will be paid a $0.722 dividend. This is an increase from Hershey’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.66. This represents a $2.89 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.72%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, August 23rd. Hershey’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 60.71%.

In related news, SVP Kevin R. Walling sold 30,835 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $101.18, for a total value of $3,119,885.30. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 57,611 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,829,080.98. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Michele Buck sold 1,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of $92.26, for a total transaction of $138,390.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 175,394 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $16,181,850.44. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 33,835 shares of company stock valued at $3,411,125 over the last quarter. 0.87% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. FMR LLC lifted its stake in Hershey by 42.5% in the 2nd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 5,089,056 shares of the company’s stock valued at $473,587,000 after purchasing an additional 1,518,053 shares during the last quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group lifted its position in Hershey by 11.3% during the second quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 2,374,353 shares of the company’s stock worth $223,616,000 after acquiring an additional 240,286 shares during the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC lifted its position in Hershey by 2.3% during the second quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 2,188,000 shares of the company’s stock worth $203,615,000 after acquiring an additional 48,700 shares during the last quarter. Scharf Investments LLC lifted its position in Hershey by 19.5% during the second quarter. Scharf Investments LLC now owns 1,481,324 shares of the company’s stock worth $137,849,000 after acquiring an additional 241,662 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Bank of America Corp DE lifted its position in Hershey by 0.9% during the second quarter. Bank of America Corp DE now owns 1,166,949 shares of the company’s stock worth $108,596,000 after acquiring an additional 10,670 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds 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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