LS Investment Advisors LLC increased its stake in Hershey Co (NYSE:HSY) by 183.1% during the fourth quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The firm owned 15,956 shares of the company’s stock after acquiring an additional 10,320 shares during the period. LS Investment Advisors LLC’s holdings in Hershey were worth $1,811,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently modified their holdings of HSY. APG Asset Management N.V. increased its stake in Hershey by 417.5% in the 3rd quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. now owns 1,297,179 shares of the company’s stock worth $141,613,000 after purchasing an additional 1,046,500 shares in the last quarter. Evercore Trust Company N.A. purchased a new position in Hershey in the 3rd quarter worth about $105,956,000. Troy Asset Management Ltd purchased a new position in Hershey in the 3rd quarter worth about $66,396,000. American Century Companies Inc. purchased a new position in Hershey in the 4th quarter worth about $67,283,000. Finally, Janus Henderson Group PLC grew its stake in Hershey by 15.4% during the 3rd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 4,368,862 shares of the company’s stock valued at $476,949,000 after acquiring an additional 582,715 shares in the last quarter. 51.76% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

In other news, insider Michele Buck sold 400 shares of Hershey stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, December 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $114.95, for a total transaction of $45,980.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 164,097 shares in the company, valued at approximately $18,862,950.15. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 1,200 shares of company stock valued at $133,800. 0.92% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Shares of Hershey Co (HSY) opened at $99.78 on Tuesday. The stock has a market capitalization of $20,997.28, a PE ratio of 20.94, a PEG ratio of 2.15 and a beta of 0.26. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.21, a quick ratio of 0.60 and a current ratio of 0.96. Hershey Co has a 1-year low of $97.62 and a 1-year high of $116.49.

Hershey (NYSE:HSY) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 1st. The company reported $1.03 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.06 by ($0.03). The firm had revenue of $1.94 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.96 billion. Hershey had a net margin of 10.42% and a return on equity of 116.74%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 1.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.17 earnings per share. sell-side analysts anticipate that Hershey Co will post 5.36 earnings per share for the current year.

Hershey announced that its board has authorized a stock buyback program on Thursday, October 26th that authorizes the company to repurchase $100.00 million in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are often an indication that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, February 23rd will be issued a dividend of $0.656 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, February 22nd. This represents a $2.62 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.63%. Hershey’s dividend payout ratio is 71.58%.

Several equities analysts have weighed in on HSY shares. Susquehanna Bancshares set a $113.00 target price on Hershey and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, October 26th. Citigroup lifted their target price on Hershey from $126.00 to $130.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, October 27th. UBS Group lowered their target price on Hershey from $110.00 to $106.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a research note on Friday, October 27th. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $105.00 target price on shares of Hershey in a research note on Friday, October 27th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research cut Hershey from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, October 30th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $111.43.

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Hershey Company Profile

The Hershey Company is a producer of chocolate in North America. The Company’s principal product offerings include chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery products; gum and mint refreshment products; pantry items, such as baking ingredients and beverages, and snack items, such as spreads, meat snacks, bars and snack bites and mixes.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Hershey (NYSE:HSY)

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