Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Sanderson Farms, Inc. (NASDAQ:SAFM) from a strong-buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Snderson Farms Inc. is a fully-integrated poultry processing company engaged in the production, processing, marketing and distribution of fresh and frozen chicken products. The company sells ice pack, chill pack and frozen chicken, in whole, cut-up and boneless form, primarily under the Sanderson Farms7 brand name to retailers, distributors, and fast food operators principally in the southeastern, southwestern and western United States. “

Several other research firms have also commented on SAFM. Mizuho started coverage on shares of Sanderson Farms in a research report on Wednesday, June 7th. They set a buy rating and a $142.00 price target for the company. Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a sell rating and issued a $85.00 target price on shares of Sanderson Farms in a research report on Friday, June 9th. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a hold rating and issued a $130.00 target price on shares of Sanderson Farms in a research report on Tuesday, June 27th. Pacific Crest reiterated an overweight rating and issued a $125.00 target price (up previously from $120.00) on shares of Sanderson Farms in a research report on Sunday, April 23rd. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded shares of Sanderson Farms from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research report on Saturday, June 3rd. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating, five have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $119.44.

Shares of Sanderson Farms (NASDAQ SAFM) opened at 128.14 on Wednesday. Sanderson Farms has a 1-year low of $74.07 and a 1-year high of $129.50. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $121.04 and a 200 day moving average of $107.53. The firm has a market cap of $2.91 billion, a PE ratio of 13.15 and a beta of 0.59.

Sanderson Farms (NASDAQ:SAFM) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, May 25th. The company reported $2.94 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $2.72 by $0.22. The business had revenue of $802 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $769.47 million. Sanderson Farms had a net margin of 7.34% and a return on equity of 18.30%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 15.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $2.11 earnings per share. Equities research analysts anticipate that Sanderson Farms will post $10.64 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, August 15th. Investors of record on Tuesday, August 1st will be given a $0.24 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, July 28th. This represents a $0.96 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.75%. Sanderson Farms’s dividend payout ratio is presently 9.86%.

In related news, Director Dianne Mooney sold 1,103 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, June 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $117.69, for a total value of $129,812.07. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 13,072 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,538,443.68. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director Phil K. Livingston sold 500 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $121.50, for a total transaction of $60,750.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 9,673 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,175,269.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 5.66% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Strs Ohio increased its stake in shares of Sanderson Farms by 180.0% in the second quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 1,400 shares of the company’s stock worth $161,000 after buying an additional 900 shares during the last quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Sanderson Farms during the first quarter worth $179,000. Affinity Investment Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Sanderson Farms during the first quarter worth $209,000. Paragon Capital Management Ltd acquired a new stake in shares of Sanderson Farms during the second quarter worth $209,000. Finally, Everence Capital Management Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Sanderson Farms during the first quarter worth $210,000.

About Sanderson Farms

Sanderson Farms, Inc is a poultry processing company. The Company is engaged in the production, processing, marketing and distribution of fresh and frozen chicken, and also preparation, processing, marketing and distribution of processed and minimally prepared chicken. It sells ice pack, chill pack, bulk pack and frozen chicken, in whole, cut-up and boneless form, under the Sanderson Farms brand name to retailers, distributors, casual dining operators, customers reselling frozen chicken into export markets.

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Analyst Recommendations for Sanderson Farms (NASDAQ:SAFM)

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