General Mills’ (GIS) “Buy” Rating Reiterated at Jefferies Group

General Mills (NYSE:GIS)‘s stock had its “buy” rating reissued by Jefferies Group in a note issued to investors on Friday. They currently have a $63.00 price objective on the stock. Jefferies Group’s target price points to a potential upside of 20.00% from the stock’s current price.

The analysts wrote, “GIS has reached an agreement to buy BUFF. It is a bold/transformative move & raises the stakes for the new CEO, Jeff Harmening. We have long loved the Pet category & BUFF is a leading brand in the fastest growing sub-segment. As such, we like the strategic merit but the price is steep & GIS will have to work hard to extract value from the deal. Synergies & accretion sound conservative & the deal should accelerate portfolio pruning efforts in the base business. We like the strategic merit but investors will surely question GIS’s ability to execute. We have long loved the Pet Food category for its secular growth dynamics – pet population growth combined with premiumization driven by the “humanization” of pets. The BUFF brand is a leader in the fastest growing sub-category (Wholesome Natural) and has a strong presence in emerging channels (eCommerce and Specialty). This transaction should improve GIS’s category growth profile by ~30-50 bps and its sales growth potential by ~100 bps. Investors will question GIS’s ability to execute given issues it has had growing its base business (particularly, Yogurt) and troubles other food companies have had integrating Pet Food assets (SJM).””

GIS has been the subject of several other research reports. Susquehanna Bancshares set a $61.00 target price on shares of General Mills and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday. Piper Jaffray Companies upgraded shares of General Mills from an “underweight” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $63.00 target price for the company in a research note on Wednesday, January 3rd. Edward Jones reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of General Mills in a research note on Wednesday, December 20th. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “neutral” rating on shares of General Mills in a research note on Friday, December 22nd. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of General Mills from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, November 2nd. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fourteen have issued a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $58.30.

Shares of General Mills (GIS) opened at $52.50 on Friday. The company has a current ratio of 0.81, a quick ratio of 0.53 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.79. General Mills has a 12 month low of $49.65 and a 12 month high of $61.38. The firm has a market cap of $31,001.50, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.23, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.38 and a beta of 0.61.

General Mills (NYSE:GIS) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, December 20th. The company reported $0.82 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting the consensus estimate of $0.82. General Mills had a net margin of 10.29% and a return on equity of 38.89%. The firm had revenue of $4.20 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.08 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.85 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.1% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts forecast that General Mills will post 3.15 EPS for the current year.

In other news, insider Bethany C. Quam sold 8,712 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, January 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $59.40, for a total transaction of $517,492.80. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 36,089 shares in the company, valued at $2,143,686.60. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 1.40% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Lenox Wealth Management Inc. grew its position in General Mills by 0.3% in the 2nd quarter. Lenox Wealth Management Inc. now owns 3,242 shares of the company’s stock valued at $180,000 after buying an additional 11 shares in the last quarter. Associated Banc Corp grew its position in General Mills by 0.3% in the 2nd quarter. Associated Banc Corp now owns 28,880 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,600,000 after buying an additional 100 shares in the last quarter. Evercore Wealth Management LLC grew its position in General Mills by 0.7% in the 2nd quarter. Evercore Wealth Management LLC now owns 27,401 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,518,000 after buying an additional 196 shares in the last quarter. Richard C. Young & CO. LTD. grew its position in General Mills by 0.4% in the 2nd quarter. Richard C. Young & CO. LTD. now owns 66,746 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,698,000 after buying an additional 254 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bangor Savings Bank grew its position in General Mills by 3.4% in the 2nd quarter. Bangor Savings Bank now owns 7,814 shares of the company’s stock valued at $433,000 after buying an additional 260 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.89% of the company’s stock.

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General Mills Company Profile

General Mills, Inc is a manufacturer and marketer of branded consumer foods sold through retail stores. The Company is a supplier of branded and unbranded food products to the North American foodservice and commercial baking industries. The Company has three segments: U.S. Retail, International, and Convenience Stores and Foodservice.

Analyst Recommendations for General Mills (NYSE:GIS)

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