Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Monday morning.

According to Zacks, “Over the last one month, Monsanto’s shares outperformed the Zacks categorized Agricultural/Products industry. The company reported better-than-expected first-quarter fiscal 2017 earnings. Monsanto expects to close Bayer’s buyout deal by the fall of fiscal 2017. This would likely boost Monsanto’s competency within the industry. Moreover, rising global population, greater market penetration of products and new innovations are anticipated to reinforce near-term results. However, weak agricultural product prices continue to weigh over the company’s top and bottom lines. In addition, a stronger U.S. dollar and extensive industry rivalry might adversely affect the company’s results, moving ahead.”

Other research analysts also recently issued research reports about the stock. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $128.00 target price on shares of Monsanto Company and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, September 15th. J P Morgan Chase & Co upgraded shares of Monsanto Company from a neutral rating to an overweight rating and set a $128.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, September 21st. CLSA upgraded shares of Monsanto Company from an underperform rating to an outperform rating in a research report on Friday, January 6th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. OTR Global upgraded shares of Monsanto Company from a negative rating to a mixed rating in a research note on Friday, November 18th. Finally, Sanford C. Bernstein set a $105.00 price target on shares of Monsanto Company and gave the company a neutral rating in a research note on Thursday, January 5th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and seventeen have given a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $114.46.

Shares of Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) traded up 0.41% during mid-day trading on Monday, reaching $107.77. 122,042 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. Monsanto Company has a 52-week low of $83.73 and a 52-week high of $114.26. The company has a market cap of $47.26 billion, a PE ratio of 29.55 and a beta of 1.01. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $105.18 and its 200 day moving average price is $103.87.

Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) last released its earnings results on Thursday, January 5th. The company reported $0.21 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.01 by $0.20. Monsanto Company had a net margin of 11.61% and a return on equity of 47.05%. The company had revenue of $2.22 billion for the quarter. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned ($0.11) EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 19.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts predict that Monsanto Company will post $4.73 EPS for the current year.

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The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, January 27th. Shareholders of record on Friday, January 6th will be issued a dividend of $0.54 per share. This represents a $2.16 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.01%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, January 4th. Monsanto Company’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 58.86%.

In other Monsanto Company news, EVP Steven Mizell sold 2,525 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, January 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $108.56, for a total transaction of $274,114.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 43,711 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,745,266.16. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Kerry J. Preete sold 2,745 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $100.96, for a total transaction of $277,135.20. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 50,056 shares in the company, valued at $5,053,653.76. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.79% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. WFG Advisors LP increased its stake in Monsanto Company by 18.6% in the second quarter. WFG Advisors LP now owns 1,009 shares of the company’s stock valued at $104,000 after buying an additional 158 shares during the period. Signaturefd LLC increased its stake in Monsanto Company by 62.1% in the second quarter. Signaturefd LLC now owns 1,083 shares of the company’s stock valued at $112,000 after buying an additional 415 shares during the period. Mycio Wealth Partners LLC increased its stake in Monsanto Company by 1.1% in the second quarter. Mycio Wealth Partners LLC now owns 1,094 shares of the company’s stock valued at $113,000 after buying an additional 12 shares during the period. Pinkerton Retirement Specialists LLC increased its stake in Monsanto Company by 1,179.1% in the second quarter. Pinkerton Retirement Specialists LLC now owns 1,100 shares of the company’s stock valued at $114,000 after buying an additional 1,014 shares during the period. Finally, Enterprise Financial Services Corp increased its stake in Monsanto Company by 4.5% in the second quarter. Enterprise Financial Services Corp now owns 1,335 shares of the company’s stock valued at $138,000 after buying an additional 57 shares during the period. 73.70% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Monsanto Company Company Profile

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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