Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Hormel Foods (NYSE:HRL) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report released on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “In fourth-quarter fiscal 2017, Hormel Foods reported better-than-expected results, with adjusted earnings of 41 cents per share surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny. Revenues outpaced the consensus estimate by 4.1%. In the quarters ahead, the company is poised to grow on the back of its stronger demand for products such as SKIPPY SPAM and Justin's and synergistic benefits from acquired assets. It recently completed the acquisition of Columbus Manufacturing as well as increased its fiscal 2018 earnings per share and revenue guidance. Despite these positives, the company perceives that lower turkey prices will continue to hurt its Jennie-O Turkey Store business while lingering challenges in the Specialty Foods and Refrigerated Foods segments are concerning. In the last six months, the company's shares have underperformed the industry and also seem overvalued comparatively.”

Several other research firms have also commented on HRL. Credit Suisse Group dropped coverage on shares of Hormel Foods in a research report on Saturday, August 26th. They issued an outperform rating on the stock. Morgan Stanley assumed coverage on shares of Hormel Foods in a research report on Friday, November 3rd. They issued an underweight rating and a $26.00 price objective on the stock. Barclays set a $40.00 target price on shares of Hormel Foods and gave the company an overweight rating in a report on Friday. KeyCorp assumed coverage on shares of Hormel Foods in a report on Tuesday, October 31st. They issued a hold rating on the stock. Finally, Mizuho set a $34.00 target price on shares of Hormel Foods and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Saturday, November 25th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $35.50.

Shares of Hormel Foods (NYSE:HRL) opened at $37.68 on Friday. Hormel Foods has a 1 year low of $29.75 and a 1 year high of $37.97. The company has a quick ratio of 1.04, a current ratio of 1.91 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.05. The company has a market cap of $19,408.24, a PE ratio of 23.27, a P/E/G ratio of 2.37 and a beta of 0.65.

Hormel Foods (NYSE:HRL) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, November 21st. The company reported $0.41 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.40 by $0.01. Hormel Foods had a net margin of 9.24% and a return on equity of 17.87%. The business had revenue of $2.49 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.41 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.45 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 5.1% compared to the same quarter last year. analysts anticipate that Hormel Foods will post 1.67 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, February 15th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, January 16th will be issued a $0.1875 dividend. This represents a $0.75 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.99%. This is a positive change from Hormel Foods’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.17. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, January 12th. Hormel Foods’s dividend payout ratio is 43.04%.

In other Hormel Foods news, Director Terrell K. Crews sold 7,987 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $36.50, for a total value of $291,525.50. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 100,569 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,670,768.50. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, insider Thomas R. Day sold 34,346 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $36.47, for a total transaction of $1,252,598.62. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 73,770 shares in the company, valued at $2,690,391.90. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 278,932 shares of company stock worth $9,245,955. 3.54% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Dupont Capital Management Corp acquired a new position in shares of Hormel Foods during the 3rd quarter valued at about $100,000. Acrospire Investment Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Hormel Foods during the 2nd quarter valued at about $111,000. BB&T Investment Services Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Hormel Foods during the 2nd quarter valued at about $118,000. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. increased its stake in shares of Hormel Foods by 0.4% during the 2nd quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. now owns 4,766 shares of the company’s stock valued at $163,000 after acquiring an additional 19 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Penserra Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Hormel Foods during the 2nd quarter valued at about $189,000. 38.33% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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