Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Hormel Foods (NYSE:HRL) from a strong sell rating to a hold rating in a report published on Monday morning.

According to Zacks, “Over the last three months, Hormel Foods shares have outperformed the industry. 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. Moreover, lingering challenges in the Specialty Foods business and Refrigerated Foods segment are concerning. Over the last 30 days, Zacks Consensus Estimate for the stock has remained unchanged for both fiscal 2018.”

Several other research firms have also commented on HRL. Morgan Stanley initiated coverage on shares of Hormel Foods in a report on Friday, November 3rd. They issued an underweight rating and a $26.00 price target for the company. Barclays set a $40.00 target price on shares of Hormel Foods and gave the company an overweight rating in a research note on Friday, December 1st. KeyCorp started coverage on shares of Hormel Foods in a research note on Tuesday, October 31st. They set a hold rating for the company. Mizuho set a $34.00 target price on shares of Hormel Foods and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Saturday, November 25th. Finally, Stephens reduced their target price on shares of Hormel Foods from $50.00 to $38.00 and set an overweight rating for the company in a research note on Thursday, October 19th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $35.70.

Hormel Foods (NYSE HRL) opened at $32.21 on Monday. Hormel Foods has a fifty-two week low of $29.75 and a fifty-two week high of $38.00. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.05, a current ratio of 1.91 and a quick ratio of 1.04. The company has a market cap of $17,338.61, a PE ratio of 20.72, a PEG ratio of 2.05 and a beta of 0.49.

Hormel Foods (NYSE:HRL) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, November 21st. The company reported $0.41 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ 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 during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.41 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.45 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 5.1% on a year-over-year basis. analysts anticipate that Hormel Foods will post 1.71 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 paid a dividend of $0.1875 per share. This represents a $0.75 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.33%. This is a positive change from Hormel Foods’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.17. The ex-dividend date is Friday, January 12th. Hormel Foods’s payout ratio is presently 47.47%.

In other Hormel Foods news, Director Robert Nakasone sold 3,184 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, December 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $37.50, for a total transaction of $119,400.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director Elsa A. Murano sold 7,129 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, January 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $36.00, for a total transaction of $256,644.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 90,991 shares in the company, valued at $3,275,676. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 131,001 shares of company stock valued at $4,612,826 over the last three months. 3.54% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Capital International Investors raised its position in shares of Hormel Foods by 28.4% during the 3rd quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 10,634,975 shares of the company’s stock worth $341,808,000 after buying an additional 2,350,000 shares in the last quarter. Valueinvest Asset Management S.A. raised its position in shares of Hormel Foods by 29.2% during the 3rd quarter. Valueinvest Asset Management S.A. now owns 6,915,500 shares of the company’s stock worth $222,264,000 after buying an additional 1,563,700 shares in the last quarter. Fairpointe Capital LLC bought a new stake in shares of Hormel Foods during the 2nd quarter worth about $113,723,000. American Century Companies Inc. raised its position in shares of Hormel Foods by 44.2% during the 3rd quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 3,051,908 shares of the company’s stock worth $98,088,000 after buying an additional 936,053 shares in the last quarter. Finally, APG Asset Management N.V. raised its position in shares of Hormel Foods by 10.8% during the 4th quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. now owns 3,046,252 shares of the company’s stock worth $92,316,000 after buying an additional 295,914 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 38.24% of the company’s stock.

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About Hormel Foods

Hormel Foods Corporation is engaged in the production of a range of meat and food products. The Company operates through four segments: Grocery Products, which is engaged in the processing, marketing and sale of shelf-stable food products sold for the retail market and health and also consists of nutrition products, including Muscle Milk protein products.; Refrigerated Foods, which consists of the processing, marketing and sale of branded and unbranded pork, beef, chicken and turkey products for retail, foodservice and fresh product customers; Jennie-O Turkey Store (JOTS), which consists of the processing, marketing and sale of branded and unbranded turkey products for retail, foodservice and fresh product customers; and International & Other, which includes Hormel Foods International Corporation, which manufactures, markets and sells the Company products internationally.

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