General Mills (NYSE:GIS) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday, March 15th. The brokerage currently has a $58.00 price objective on the stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price would indicate a potential upside of 27.56% from the company’s previous close.
According to Zacks, “General Mills' consumer-focused innovation, marketing initiatives and robust restructuring savings are making up for the sluggish revenue growth. The company is currently pursuing several initiatives focused on improving operational efficiency to generate cost savings and support its key growth strategies. That said, slowing organic volumes are overshadowing minor improvements in profit margins. Sales and profits at the company’s North America Retail segment, contributing 66% to its sales, have been soft. The North American food industry has seen sluggish growth and slowdown in consumption over the last few quarters owing to changes in consumer preference. General Mills' shares have underperformed the industry in the last three months. That said, earnings estimates have been trending upward for the current year and the next over the last 30 days, reflecting analysts' optimism.”
Several other equities research analysts also recently commented on the company. JPMorgan Chase reduced their price objective on General Mills from $56.00 to $54.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a report on Wednesday, March 14th. Gabelli downgraded General Mills from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, March 6th. Citigroup reduced their price objective on General Mills from $71.00 to $69.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a report on Tuesday, February 27th. Societe Generale downgraded General Mills from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and cut their price target for the company from $52.98 to $48.00 in a research note on Monday, February 26th. Finally, Jefferies Group restated a “buy” rating and set a $63.00 price target on shares of General Mills in a research note on Friday, February 23rd. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, fifteen have given a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. General Mills has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $53.71.
Shares of NYSE:GIS traded up $0.04 on Thursday, hitting $45.47. 6,369,073 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 8,217,179. General Mills has a 52 week low of $43.84 and a 52 week high of $60.69. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.34, a current ratio of 0.69 and a quick ratio of 0.45. The company has a market capitalization of $25,874.43, a PE ratio of 14.76, a PEG ratio of 2.04 and a beta of 0.76.
General Mills (NYSE:GIS) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, March 21st. The company reported $0.79 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.78 by $0.01. General Mills had a return on equity of 37.64% and a net margin of 13.96%. The firm had revenue of $3.88 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.87 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.72 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 2.3% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts anticipate that General Mills will post 3.09 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
General Mills declared that its board has authorized a share buyback plan on Friday, February 23rd that authorizes the company to buyback outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are generally an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.
In other news, insider Bethany C. Quam sold 8,712 shares of General Mills stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, January 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $59.40, for a total transaction of $517,492.80. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 36,089 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,143,686.60. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. 1.40% of the stock is owned by insiders.
Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Albert D Mason Inc. lifted its holdings in General Mills by 17.0% in the 3rd quarter. Albert D Mason Inc. now owns 21,170 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,096,000 after purchasing an additional 3,075 shares in the last quarter. Advisor Group Inc. lifted its holdings in General Mills by 7.4% in the 3rd quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 79,871 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,136,000 after purchasing an additional 5,472 shares in the last quarter. Pensionfund DSM Netherlands purchased a new position in General Mills in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $3,364,000. Putnam FL Investment Management Co. purchased a new position in General Mills in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $376,000. Finally, Northside Capital Management LLC lifted its holdings in General Mills by 224.6% in the 4th quarter. Northside Capital Management LLC now owns 27,305 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,619,000 after purchasing an additional 18,894 shares in the last quarter. 74.23% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
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About General Mills
General Mills, Inc manufactures and markets branded consumer foods in the United States. The company operates in four segments: North America Retail; Convenience Stores & Foodservice; Europe & Australia; and Asia & Latin America. It offers ready-to-eat cereals, refrigerated yogurt, soup, meal kits, refrigerated and frozen dough products, dessert and baking mixes, frozen pizza and pizza snacks, shelf stable and frozen vegetables, and ice cream and frozen desserts, as well as grain, fruit and savory snacks; and various organic products, including nutrition bars, meal kits, salty snacks, and ready-to-eat cereal.
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