Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Sonoco Products Company (NYSE:SON) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report issued on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “For 2017, Sonoco projects earnings per share in the range of $2.73–$2.80. The mid-point of the guidance reflects a year-over-year growth of 1.7%. The company maintains a cautious outlook regarding the second half of 2017 as consumer preferences for packaged is being impacted by changing taste for more fresh and natural products. Also Old Corrugated Cardboard (OCC) prices and resin prices are escalating.  If Sonoco’s price increases are not effective, it will hurt the margins. Some of its consumer-product customers seem to be struggling to grow packaged food volumes in certain served markets. The slowdown in manufacturing in the United States and emerging markets, along with headwinds from a strong dollar, is expected to continue impacting its industrial businesses. In the last one year, Sonoco has underperformed the industry it belongs to. Its estimates have gone down lately.”

SON has been the subject of a number of other reports. Bank of America Corporation raised shares of Sonoco Products from an underperform rating to a buy rating and set a $56.00 price target for the company in a research note on Wednesday, September 6th. Robert W. Baird upgraded shares of Sonoco Products from a neutral rating to an outperform rating and upped their price objective for the stock from $55.00 to $60.00 in a report on Wednesday, July 19th. Vertical Research upgraded shares of Sonoco Products from a sell rating to a hold rating and set a $45.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Wednesday, August 2nd. Jefferies Group LLC restated a hold rating and issued a $48.00 price objective on shares of Sonoco Products in a report on Thursday, August 3rd. Finally, BidaskClub cut shares of Sonoco Products from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a report on Thursday, July 27th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Sonoco Products currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $52.57.

Sonoco Products (NYSE:SON) opened at 49.11 on Tuesday. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $48.45 and its 200-day moving average price is $50.87. The firm has a market cap of $4.88 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.64 and a beta of 1.12. Sonoco Products has a 1-year low of $47.10 and a 1-year high of $55.58.

Sonoco Products (NYSE:SON) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 20th. The industrial products company reported $0.71 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.71. Sonoco Products had a net margin of 5.61% and a return on equity of 16.64%. The company had revenue of $1.24 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.22 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.73 earnings per share. Sonoco Products’s revenue was up 2.9% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts anticipate that Sonoco Products will post $2.75 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 8th. Shareholders of record on Friday, August 11th were issued a $0.39 dividend. This represents a $1.56 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.19%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, August 9th. Sonoco Products’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 59.09%.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. BlackRock Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Sonoco Products by 5,164.3% during the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 11,100,154 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $587,419,000 after buying an additional 10,889,296 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Sonoco Products by 0.3% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 9,545,609 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $490,835,000 after buying an additional 29,532 shares during the last quarter. State Street Corp grew its holdings in shares of Sonoco Products by 1.2% during the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 6,544,078 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $336,491,000 after buying an additional 77,004 shares during the last quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN grew its holdings in shares of Sonoco Products by 7.4% during the second quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 3,662,913 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $188,346,000 after buying an additional 251,027 shares during the last quarter. Finally, American Century Companies Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Sonoco Products by 13.1% during the second quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 2,229,967 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $114,665,000 after buying an additional 257,969 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.45% of the company’s stock.

Sonoco Products Company Profile

Sonoco Products Company is engaged in manufacturing of industrial and consumer packaging products, and providing packaging services. The Company operates in four segments: Consumer Packaging, Paper and Industrial Converted Products, Display and Packaging, and Protective Solutions. Its Consumer Packaging segment’s products and services include round composite cans, aluminum, steel and peelable membrane easy-open closures for composite and metal cans; plastic bottles, cups and trays, and printed flexible packaging and global brand management.

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