Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Treehouse Foods, Inc. (NYSE:THS) from a hold rating to a strong sell rating in a research report sent to investors on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Grocery woes like stiff competition, difficult pricing and sluggish store traffic are making things tough for TreeHouse Foods that has lagged the industry year to date. This is quite evident from its third-quarter 2017 results, wherein both top and bottom lines fell year over year and the latter came much below expectations. Apart from the aforementioned factors, the divestiture of the SIF business also impacted results, by denting the top line. Additionally, higher freight and commodity costs weighed on the operating income, particularly the Beverages and Snacks units. Unfortunately, management expects these headwinds to linger, which compelled it to curtail its earnings view for 2017. Nevertheless, TreeHouse Foods is making attempts to enhance its operational performance and reduce cost structure through its TreeHouse 2020 strategy. Notably, this initiative is expected to improve the company’s operating margin by 300 bps by the end of 2020.”

Several other equities analysts have also recently issued reports on the company. Jefferies Group LLC set a $100.00 price objective on Treehouse Foods and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Sunday, October 29th. Susquehanna Bancshares Inc reiterated a hold rating and issued a $75.00 price objective on shares of Treehouse Foods in a research note on Monday, October 9th. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a buy rating on shares of Treehouse Foods in a research note on Tuesday, July 18th. UBS AG began coverage on Treehouse Foods in a research note on Wednesday, October 18th. They issued a neutral rating and a $70.00 price objective for the company. Finally, BidaskClub cut Treehouse Foods from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Thursday, August 24th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $62.89.

Treehouse Foods (THS) opened at $43.08 on Tuesday. Treehouse Foods has a twelve month low of $40.26 and a twelve month high of $90.42. The company has a market capitalization of $2,436.22, a PE ratio of 14.53, a P/E/G ratio of 1.99 and a beta of 0.63. The company has a current ratio of 2.16, a quick ratio of 0.81 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.01.

Treehouse Foods (NYSE:THS) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, November 2nd. The company reported $0.67 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.78 by ($0.11). Treehouse Foods had a negative net margin of 4.06% and a positive return on equity of 6.61%. The firm had revenue of $1.55 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.52 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.70 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was down 2.4% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts anticipate that Treehouse Foods will post 2.72 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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Treehouse Foods announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock repurchase program on Thursday, November 2nd that allows the company to buyback $400.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are generally a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

In other Treehouse Foods news, CEO Sam K. Reed sold 11,480 shares of Treehouse Foods stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, September 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $66.32, for a total transaction of $761,353.60. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 70,647 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,685,309.04. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, Director Gary Dale Smith purchased 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 7th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $42.64 per share, for a total transaction of $85,280.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 271 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $11,555.44. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 34,440 shares of company stock worth $2,027,712 in the last three months. Corporate insiders own 3.50% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Wells Fargo & Company MN increased its position in Treehouse Foods by 12.2% during the third quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 5,133,963 shares of the company’s stock worth $347,723,000 after buying an additional 557,363 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in Treehouse Foods by 0.4% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 4,668,862 shares of the company’s stock worth $381,400,000 after buying an additional 16,592 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its position in Treehouse Foods by 1.2% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 4,574,766 shares of the company’s stock worth $373,713,000 after buying an additional 56,356 shares during the period. FMR LLC increased its position in Treehouse Foods by 2.3% during the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 3,866,371 shares of the company’s stock worth $315,843,000 after buying an additional 87,098 shares during the period. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased its position in Treehouse Foods by 4.6% during the second quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 3,691,824 shares of the company’s stock worth $301,585,000 after buying an additional 161,421 shares during the period.

About Treehouse Foods

TreeHouse Foods, Inc is a consumer packaged food and beverage manufacturer. The Company’s segments include North American Retail Grocery, Food Away From Home, and Industrial and Export. The Company manufactures a range of shelf stable, refrigerated, fresh and frozen products. Its product categories include beverages, salad dressings, snack nuts, beverage enhancers, pickles, sauces, cereals, pasta and dry dinners, cookies and crackers, retail bakery, aseptic products, jams and other products.

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