Credit Agricole SA cut shares of Monsanto Co. (NYSE:MON) from a buy rating to an underperform rating in a report issued on Thursday. Credit Agricole SA currently has $110.00 price objective on the stock.

“A 44 percent premium over a cyclical low in the stock is less than ten percent higher than where the stock was two years back, when the cycle was moderately stronger, suggesting that Monsanto is selling at a cyclical trough. The breakup fee, of $2 billion, is a fraction of what Monsanto itself offered Syngenta AG (ADR) (NYSE: SYT) shareowners, at a time when regulatory concerns about deal approval were far less serious.,” the firm’s analyst wrote.

A number of other research analysts also recently issued reports on the stock. TheStreet upgraded shares of Monsanto to a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, May 26th. Vertical Research upgraded shares of Monsanto from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Monday, May 23rd. Jefferies Group upgraded shares of Monsanto from a hold rating to a buy rating and upped their target price for the company from $95.00 to $132.00 in a research report on Wednesday, May 25th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Macquarie set a $110.00 target price on shares of Monsanto and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, May 25th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG restated a buy rating and set a $100.00 target price on shares of Monsanto in a research report on Wednesday, May 25th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating, fourteen have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Monsanto has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $111.12.

Shares of Monsanto (NYSE:MON) opened at 102.88 on Thursday. The company’s 50 day moving average is $105.86 and its 200 day moving average is $100.40. Monsanto has a 12-month low of $81.22 and a 12-month high of $114.26. The firm has a market capitalization of $45.02 billion, a PE ratio of 45.28 and a beta of 1.24.

Monsanto (NYSE:MON) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, June 29th. The company reported $2.17 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.40 by $0.23. The company had revenue of $4.19 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.49 billion. Monsanto had a return on equity of 37.98% and a net margin of 7.76%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 8.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $2.39 EPS. On average, analysts forecast that Monsanto will post $4.46 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 28th. Stockholders of record on Friday, October 7th will be paid a dividend of $0.54 per share. This represents a $2.16 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.10%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, October 5th. Monsanto’s payout ratio is 89.26%.

In related news, COO Brett D. Begemann sold 27,980 shares of Monsanto stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, July 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $103.62, for a total value of $2,899,287.60. Following the transaction, the chief operating officer now directly owns 102,480 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $10,618,977.60. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Michael K. Stern sold 12,797 shares of Monsanto stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, July 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $101.77, for a total value of $1,302,350.69. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 21,583 shares in the company, valued at $2,196,501.91. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.88% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Stifel Financial Corp raised its position in Monsanto by 3.9% in the fourth quarter. Stifel Financial Corp now owns 158,255 shares of the company’s stock worth $15,602,000 after buying an additional 5,876 shares in the last quarter. DnB Asset Management AS raised its position in Monsanto by 17.0% in the first quarter. DnB Asset Management AS now owns 90,857 shares of the company’s stock worth $7,972,000 after buying an additional 13,200 shares in the last quarter. CENTRAL TRUST Co bought a new position in Monsanto during the first quarter worth approximately $2,262,000. Fjarde AP Fonden Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund raised its position in Monsanto by 4.8% in the first quarter. Fjarde AP Fonden Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund now owns 101,273 shares of the company’s stock worth $8,886,000 after buying an additional 4,621 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Exxonmobil Investment Management Inc. TX raised its position in Monsanto by 8.8% in the first quarter. Exxonmobil Investment Management Inc. TX now owns 107,216 shares of the company’s stock worth $9,407,000 after buying an additional 8,630 shares in the last quarter. 79.06% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Monsanto

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

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