Hershey Company (The) (NYSE: HSY) and General Mills (NYSE:GIS) are both large-cap consumer staples companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their risk, institutional ownership, profitability, earnings, dividends, valuation and analyst recommendations.

Profitability

This table compares Hershey Company (The) and General Mills’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Hershey Company (The) 9.52% 124.06% 19.16%
General Mills 10.68% 39.82% 8.16%

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings for Hershey Company (The) and General Mills, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Hershey Company (The) 1 7 4 0 2.25
General Mills 3 14 1 0 1.89

Hershey Company (The) presently has a consensus price target of $114.25, indicating a potential upside of 6.33%. General Mills has a consensus price target of $56.27, indicating a potential upside of 4.88%. Given Hershey Company (The)’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, research analysts plainly believe Hershey Company (The) is more favorable than General Mills.

Dividends

Hershey Company (The) pays an annual dividend of $2.62 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.4%. General Mills pays an annual dividend of $1.96 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.7%. Hershey Company (The) pays out 78.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. General Mills pays out 70.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Hershey Company (The) has increased its dividend for 13 consecutive years and General Mills has increased its dividend for 7 consecutive years. General Mills is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and lower payout ratio.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

49.2% of Hershey Company (The) shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 71.3% of General Mills shares are owned by institutional investors. 0.9% of Hershey Company (The) shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 1.4% of General Mills shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Hershey Company (The) and General Mills’ revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio NetIncome Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Hershey Company (The) $7.44 billion 3.04 $720.04 million $3.36 31.98
General Mills $15.62 billion 1.95 $1.66 billion $2.79 19.23

General Mills has higher revenue and earnings than Hershey Company (The). General Mills is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Hershey Company (The), indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Risk and Volatility

Hershey Company (The) has a beta of 0.36, suggesting that its share price is 64% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, General Mills has a beta of 0.63, suggesting that its share price is 37% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Hershey Company (The) beats General Mills on 9 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Hershey Company (The)

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. Its segments include North America, and International and Other. The North America segment includes its chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery business, as well as its grocery and snacks business. This includes developing and growing its business in chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery, pantry, food service and other snacking product lines. The Company distributes and sells confectionery products in export markets of Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and other regions. As of December 31, 2016, the Company marketed, sold and distributed its products under more than 80 brand names in approximately 70 countries across the world.

About General Mills

General Mills, Inc. is a manufacturer and marketer of branded consumer foods sold through retail stores. The Company is a supplier of branded and unbranded food products to the North American foodservice and commercial baking industries. The Company has three segments: U.S. Retail, International, and Convenience Stores and Foodservice. Its products are marketed under various brands, which include Annie’s and Betty Crocker. The Company’s U.S. Retail segment reflects business with a range of grocery stores, mass merchandisers, membership stores, natural food chains, drug, dollar and discount chains, and e-commerce grocery providers operating throughout the United States. The International segment consists of retail and foodservice businesses outside of the United States. The Convenience Stores and Foodservice segment’s product categories include ready-to-eat cereals, snacks, refrigerated yogurt, frozen meals, unbaked and fully baked frozen dough products, and baking mixes.

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