Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note published on Monday morning.

According to Zacks, “PepsiCo is witnessing strained margins for quite some time due to operating and commodity cost inflation, including higher transportation costs and stepped-up advertising expense. This trend is likely to continue, going ahead. Additionally, consumers’ awareness on health and wellness, alongside new taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages and growing regulatory pressures are affecting CSD sales, which has caused sluggishness in beverage category. However, PepsiCo's robust surprise trend has driven its outperformance compared with the industry in the past year. Earnings topped estimates in the last 11 quarters, while it delivered positive sales surprise in five of the last seven quarters. The improvement is mainly attributable to strong performances in international divisions, propelled by higher revenue growth in developing and emerging markets. Also, the company’s solid snacks division is boosting the performance.”

A number of other research analysts have also issued reports on PEP. Guggenheim initiated coverage on PepsiCo in a research report on Thursday, September 13th. They set a neutral rating and a $117.00 price objective for the company. BidaskClub upgraded PepsiCo from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Saturday, September 15th. Macquarie set a $122.00 price objective on PepsiCo and gave the company an outperform rating in a research report on Friday, September 28th. Susquehanna Bancshares reduced their price objective on PepsiCo from $136.00 to $135.00 and set a positive rating for the company in a research report on Friday, September 28th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada boosted their price objective on PepsiCo to $115.00 and gave the company a sector perform rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 3rd. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have assigned a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $117.50.

NASDAQ:PEP opened at $108.15 on Monday. PepsiCo has a 12-month low of $95.94 and a 12-month high of $122.51. The company has a market cap of $151.73 billion, a P/E ratio of 20.68, a P/E/G ratio of 2.61 and a beta of 0.67. The company has a quick ratio of 1.15, a current ratio of 1.31 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.95.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, January 7th. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 7th were paid a dividend of $0.9275 per share. This represents a $3.71 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.43%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, December 6th. PepsiCo’s payout ratio is currently 70.94%.

In other news, CEO Mike Spanos sold 20,074 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, October 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $112.42, for a total value of $2,256,719.08. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 35,520 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,993,158.40. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, EVP Mehmood Khan sold 168,295 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, October 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $110.12, for a total value of $18,532,645.40. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 173,702 shares in the company, valued at approximately $19,128,064.24. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 200,393 shares of company stock worth $22,075,812 in the last three months. Company insiders own 0.27% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Highwater Wealth Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of PepsiCo during the fourth quarter valued at $28,000. Prime Capital Investment Advisors LLC grew its holdings in shares of PepsiCo by 351.5% during the third quarter. Prime Capital Investment Advisors LLC now owns 903 shares of the company’s stock valued at $101,000 after buying an additional 703 shares in the last quarter. WP Advisors LLC purchased a new position in shares of PepsiCo during the second quarter valued at $118,000. WealthTrust Arizona LLC grew its holdings in shares of PepsiCo by 268.7% during the third quarter. WealthTrust Arizona LLC now owns 1,106 shares of the company’s stock valued at $124,000 after buying an additional 806 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Patriot Financial Group Insurance Agency LLC grew its holdings in shares of PepsiCo by 196.0% during the third quarter. Patriot Financial Group Insurance Agency LLC now owns 1,119 shares of the company’s stock valued at $125,000 after buying an additional 741 shares in the last quarter. 70.07% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

PepsiCo Company Profile

PepsiCo, Inc operates as a food and beverage company worldwide. Its Frito-Lay North America segment offers Lay's and Ruffles potato chips; Doritos, Tostitos, and Santitas tortilla chips; and Cheetos snacks, branded dips, and Fritos corn chips. The company's Quaker Foods North America segment provides cereals, rice, pasta, mixes and syrups, granola bars, grits, oat squares, oatmeal, rice cakes, simply granola, and side dishes under the brands Quaker, Aunt Jemima, Cap'n crunch, life, Quaker Chewy, and Rice-A-Roni.

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