General Mills (GIS) Upgraded to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of General Mills (NYSE:GIS) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report released on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “General Mills has lagged the industry in the past three months, as the company is battling input cost inflation, which is likely to linger going forward. Evidently, the company expects input cost inflation of 5% in fiscal 2019, a point greater than the fiscal 2018 level. Also, General Mills is struggling with its U.S. Yogurt sales for the past few quarters. Nonetheless, the company is on track to restructure this category through fundamental innovation. Also, the company remains committed toward reshaping its portfolio, evident from its buyout of Blue Buffalo. These factors along with strong e-commerce business and savings from HMM initiatives should continue to fuel General Mills. Markedly, the company posted robust fourth-quarter fiscal 2018 results, wherein both top and bottom lines grew year over year. Also, organic sales grew on organic net price realization and mix. In fiscal 2019, management expects net sales to rise 9-10%.”

Several other equities research analysts have also recently weighed in on GIS. Bank of America reissued a hold rating and set a $49.00 price objective on shares of General Mills in a research note on Wednesday, June 27th. Jefferies Financial Group reissued a buy rating and set a $55.00 price objective on shares of General Mills in a research note on Wednesday, June 27th. Citigroup cut their target price on General Mills from $61.00 to $54.00 and set a buy rating on the stock in a research note on Friday, June 29th. Barclays reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $48.00 target price on shares of General Mills in a research note on Friday, March 23rd. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group reaffirmed a neutral rating and set a $47.00 target price on shares of General Mills in a research note on Thursday, May 31st. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have assigned a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $50.71.

Shares of General Mills opened at $43.53 on Tuesday, according to MarketBeat. The company has a current ratio of 0.56, a quick ratio of 0.34 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.95. General Mills has a 1-year low of $41.01 and a 1-year high of $60.69. The company has a market cap of $25.78 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.00, a P/E/G ratio of 1.67 and a beta of 0.79.

General Mills (NYSE:GIS) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, June 27th. The company reported $0.79 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.72 by $0.07. General Mills had a return on equity of 35.14% and a net margin of 13.54%. The company had revenue of $3.89 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.89 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.73 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.2% on a year-over-year basis. analysts predict that General Mills will post 3.06 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, August 1st. Investors of record on Tuesday, July 10th will be issued a $0.49 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, July 9th. This represents a $1.96 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.50%. General Mills’s payout ratio is 63.02%.

In related news, insider Shawn P. Ogrady sold 82,244 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, June 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $45.50, for a total value of $3,742,102.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 187,948 shares in the company, valued at $8,551,634. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CEO Jeffrey L. Harmening purchased 6,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, May 23rd. The stock was purchased at an average price of $42.18 per share, with a total value of $253,080.00. Following the acquisition, the chief executive officer now directly owns 114,696 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,837,877.28. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. 1.40% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. HC Financial Advisors Inc. purchased a new stake in General Mills during the fourth quarter worth $766,000. OppenheimerFunds Inc. purchased a new stake in General Mills during the fourth quarter worth $2,598,000. 180 Wealth Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in General Mills during the fourth quarter worth $318,000. Alliancebernstein L.P. lifted its holdings in General Mills by 6.6% during the fourth quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 1,754,991 shares of the company’s stock worth $104,053,000 after buying an additional 108,919 shares during the period. Finally, MML Investors Services LLC lifted its holdings in General Mills by 19.2% during the fourth quarter. MML Investors Services LLC now owns 43,927 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,604,000 after buying an additional 7,088 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 74.58% of the company’s stock.

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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