Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Lancaster Colony (NASDAQ:LANC) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Lancaster Colony Corporation is a manufacturer and marketer of specialty food products for the retail and foodservice markets. Lancaster Colony’s wholly-owned subsidiaries, including T. Marzetti Company, produce and market high quality national and regionally-branded food products throughout the United States for the retail and foodservice markets. Most of their products sold through the retail channel are marketed under the company’s popular brand names, such as Marzetti, New York Brand Bakery, Sister Schubert’s and Flatout. The company’s production plants across the United States make an expanded family of quality food products found every day on the dinner tables of millions of consumers, as well as in well-known restaurant chains nationwide. “

Separately, BidaskClub cut Lancaster Colony from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a research note on Saturday, January 6th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has assigned a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $154.67.

Lancaster Colony (NASDAQ LANC) traded down $0.24 during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $127.32. The stock had a trading volume of 83,032 shares, compared to its average volume of 87,447. The company has a market cap of $3,494.04, a PE ratio of 31.36 and a beta of 1.06. Lancaster Colony has a 12 month low of $113.33 and a 12 month high of $149.30.

Lancaster Colony (NASDAQ:LANC) last released its earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The company reported $1.07 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.11 by ($0.04). The business had revenue of $298.92 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $298.75 million. Lancaster Colony had a return on equity of 21.50% and a net margin of 9.20%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $1.22 earnings per share. sell-side analysts expect that Lancaster Colony will post 4.62 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 29th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 8th were paid a dividend of $0.60 per share. This represents a $2.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.89%. This is a boost from Lancaster Colony’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.55. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, December 7th. Lancaster Colony’s payout ratio is presently 59.11%.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Independent Advisor Alliance raised its stake in shares of Lancaster Colony by 14.8% during the 3rd quarter. Independent Advisor Alliance now owns 5,100 shares of the company’s stock worth $619,000 after purchasing an additional 656 shares during the period. Neuberger Berman Group LLC raised its stake in shares of Lancaster Colony by 29.3% during the 3rd quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 944,727 shares of the company’s stock worth $113,481,000 after purchasing an additional 214,154 shares during the period. California Public Employees Retirement System raised its stake in shares of Lancaster Colony by 3.2% during the 3rd quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 45,012 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,407,000 after purchasing an additional 1,412 shares during the period. Jane Street Group LLC bought a new stake in shares of Lancaster Colony during the 3rd quarter worth $589,000. Finally, Vident Investment Advisory LLC bought a new stake in shares of Lancaster Colony during the 3rd quarter worth $210,000. Institutional investors own 51.26% of the company’s stock.

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Lancaster Colony Company Profile

Lancaster Colony Corporation is a manufacturer and marketer of specialty food products for the retail and foodservice channels. The Company’s food products include Salad dressings and sauces, Vegetable dips and fruit dips, Frozen garlic breads, Frozen Parkerhouse style yeast rolls and dinner rolls, Premium dry egg noodles, Frozen specialty noodles, Croutons and salad toppings, Flatbread wraps and pizza crusts, and Caviar.

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