Uncovering Institutional Buying In The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY)


SSgA Funds Management, Inc. recently announced the acquisition of new stake in The Hershey Company (NYSE:HSY). The institutional investor has increased its shareholding in the Consumer Defensive company by 0.92% to 7.8 million shares with purchase of 71064.0 shares. This fresh investment now brings its stake to 5.29% valued currently at $1.01 billion. In addition, Renaissance Technologies LLC raised its holdings by 0.76 million to 5.26 million shares. And Northern Trust Investments, Inc.(. has lifted its position by 2.31% or 46843.0 shares – to 2.07 million shares.

With over 0.86 million The Hershey Company (HSY) shares trading Friday and a closing price of $146.29 on the day, the dollar volume was approximately $125.6 million. The shares have shown a positive weekly performance of 7.96% and its price on 07/24/20 gained nearly 0.42%. Currently, there are 208.25M common shares owned by the public and among those 146.96M shares have been available to trade.

An analysis of what Wall Street brokers have to say about the expected price targets for this stock gives us this picture: 19 analysts who have offered their price forecasts for HSY have a consensus price objective of $149.71. The analysts have set the share’s price value over the next 12 months at a high of $170.00 and a low of $138.00 should the stock experience a downside. Incidentally, analysts’ outlook for the The Hershey Company stock is 2.90 for the next 12 months. The average price target is -1.94% below its last price level and a downside to the estimated low will see the stock lose -6.01% over that period. But an upside of 13.95% will see the stock hit the forecast high price target while mean target price for the stock is $148.00.

Insiders at the company have transacted a total of 160 times over the past 12 months, according to data filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 79 of these insider trades were purchases, accounting for 162,746 shares. Insider sales of the common stock occurred on 81 occasions, with total insider shares sold totaling 182,411 shares.

The top 3 mutual fund holders in The Hershey Company are Vanguard Total Stock Market Index, Vanguard 500 Index Fund, and iShares Tr. – Edge MSCI Min. Vol. Vanguard Total Stock Market Index owns 4.2 million shares of the company’s stock, all valued at over $544.7 million. The company sold 73068.0 shares recently to bring their total holdings to about 2.85% of the shares outstanding. Vanguard 500 Index Fund bought 27571.0 shares to see its total holdings expand to 3.06 million shares valued at over $396.22 million and representing 2.07% of the shares outstanding. iShares Tr. – Edge MSCI Min. Vol. sold 2630.0 shares to bring its total holdings to over 2.93 million shares at a value of $379.88 million. iShares Tr. – Edge MSCI Min. Vol. now owns shares totaling to 1.99% of the shares outstanding.

Shares of The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) opened at $147.03, up $1.35 from a prior closing price of $145.68. However, the script later closed the day at $146.29, up 0.42%. The company’s stock has a 5-day price change of 7.96% and 8.27% over the past three months. HSY shares are trading -0.47% year to date (YTD), with the 12-month market performance down to -4.37% lower. It has a 12-month low price of $109.88 and touched a high of $162.20 over the same period. Currently, 0.86 million shares have been traded, compared to an average intraday trading volume of 1.34 million shares. The stock is trading above its simple moving averages at the SMA20, SMA50, and SMA200, as the current price level is off by 10.38%, 10.64%, and 2.88% respectively.

Institutional ownership of The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) shares accounts for 77.40% of the company’s 208.25M shares outstanding. Mutual fund holders own 38.06%, while other institutional holders and individual stakeholders account for 38.56% and 1.60% respectively.

It has a market capitalization of $30.57B and a beta (3y monthly) value of 0.20. The stock’s trailing 12-month PE ratio is 28.68, while the earnings-per-share (ttm) stands at $5.10. The company has a PEG of 3.96 and a Quick Ratio of 0.90 with the debt-to-equity ratio at 2.90. Price movements for the stock have been influenced by the stock’s volatility, which stands at 1.98% over the week and 1.97% over the month.

Analysts forecast that The Hershey Company (HSY) will achieve an EPS of $1.69 for the current quarter, $1.36 for the next quarter and $6.4 for 2021. The lowest estimate earnings-per-share for the quarter is $1.65 while analysts give the company a high EPS estimate of $1.77. Comparatively, EPS for the current quarter was $1.61 a year ago. Earnings per share for the fiscal year are expected to decrease by -1.60%, and 7.12% over the next financial year. EPS should shrink at an annualized rate of 7.24% over the next five years, compared to 7.70% over the past 5-year period.

If you are looking to buy this stock, then you may note that the average analyst recommendation by 19 brokerage firm advisors rate The Hershey Company (HSY) as a “Moderate Buy” at a consensus score of 2.90. Specifically, 2 Wall Street analysts polled rate the stock as a buy, while 17 of the 19 advise that investors “hold,” and 0 rated it as a “Sell.”

Looking at the support for the HSY, a number of firms have released research notes about the stock. Evercore ISI stated their Outperform rating for the stock in a research note on July 24, 2020, with the firm’s price target at. Piper Sandler coverage for the The Hershey Company (HSY) stock in a research note released on April 24, 2020 offered a Neutral rating with a price target of $138. CFRA was of a view on April 23, 2020 that the stock is Sell, while Morgan Stanley gave the stock Equal-Weight rating on April 21, 2020, issuing a price target of $146. Piper Sandler on their part issued Overweight rating on March 25, 2020.


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