Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of McCormick & Co. (NYSE:MKC) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Thursday morning. They currently have $109.00 price objective on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Estimates have largely been stable ahead of McCormick’s third quarter of fiscal 2016 results. In fact, the company has been delivering better-than-expected earnings in the last three consecutive quarters. McCormick has been witnessing rising demand for spices, herbs and seasonings over the last few years, which is boosting its sales. McCormick is also focusing on building sales through brand marketing investments and acquisitions. The company’s recent acquisitions are expected to boost revenues in the coming quarters. McCormick has also been regularly launching new products in order to remain competitive. The company also remains optimistic on its higher pricing and cost savings initiatives. The company also expects lower impact from currency headwinds in 2016. However, higher brand marketing expenses and higher input costs also remain headwinds.”

A number of other equities analysts also recently issued reports on MKC. Citigroup Inc. reissued a neutral rating on shares of McCormick & Co. in a research note on Tuesday, July 5th. Deutsche Bank AG raised their target price on shares of McCormick & Co. from $110.00 to $113.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Saturday, July 2nd. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $97.24.

McCormick & Co. (NYSE:MKC) opened at 96.23 on Thursday. The firm has a market cap of $12.19 billion, a P/E ratio of 28.54 and a beta of 0.48. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $100.29 and its 200-day moving average price is $99.07. McCormick & Co. has a 1-year low of $77.65 and a 1-year high of $107.84.

McCormick & Co. (NYSE:MKC) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, June 30th. The company reported $0.75 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.74 by $0.01. The company earned $1.06 billion during the quarter. McCormick & Co. had a net margin of 9.96% and a return on equity of 26.08%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.75 earnings per share. Equities research analysts anticipate that McCormick & Co. will post $3.75 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, CFO Gordon Mckenzie Stetz, Jr. sold 38,900 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, July 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $105.17, for a total transaction of $4,091,113.00. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 94,012 shares in the company, valued at approximately $9,887,242.04. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director Patricia A. Little sold 3,750 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, July 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $107.22, for a total transaction of $402,075.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 13,227 shares in the company, valued at $1,418,198.94. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 13.70% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Williams Jones & Associates LLC increased its stake in shares of McCormick & Co. by 62,184.5% in the second quarter. Williams Jones & Associates LLC now owns 124,569 shares of the company’s stock valued at $13,288,000 after buying an additional 124,369 shares during the last quarter. Kentucky Retirement Systems Insurance Trust Fund purchased a new stake in shares of McCormick & Co. during the second quarter valued at approximately $496,000. Kentucky Retirement Systems purchased a new stake in shares of McCormick & Co. during the second quarter valued at approximately $1,046,000. KAMES CAPITAL plc purchased a new stake in shares of McCormick & Co. during the second quarter valued at approximately $1,421,000. Finally, Nomura Holdings Inc. increased its stake in shares of McCormick & Co. by 1.7% in the second quarter. Nomura Holdings Inc. now owns 34,290 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,657,000 after buying an additional 565 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.48% of the company’s stock.

McCormick & Co. Company Profile

McCormick & Company, Incorporated manufactures, markets and distributes spices, seasoning mixes, condiments and other flavorful products to the food industry, including retailers, food manufacturers and foodservice businesses. The Company operates in two segments: consumer and industrial. Its brands in the Americas include McCormick, Lawry’s, Stubb’s, Club House, Zatarain’s, Thai Kitchen and Simply Asia.

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