Heinz (KHC) Upgraded to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Heinz (NASDAQ:KHC) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Kraft Heinz’s shares have underperformed the industry in the past six months. Earnings estimates for the current-quarter and year have also gone down over the last 30 days, reflecting analysts’ concern over the stock’s prospects. Soft spending by U.S. shoppers and shift in consumer preference toward natural and organic ingredients over packaged and processed food are hurting the company’s categories. Kraft Heinz’s sales growth continued to face challenges in the last reported quarter due to softness in the U.S. retail environment.  Organic sales in the United States declined 1.1% year over year in the preceding quarter due to lower volume. Soft consumer demand in North America and Canada along with a 4% year-over-year decline in gross profit affected the company’s earnings.”

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Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Morgan Stanley cut their price target on shares of Heinz from $88.00 to $80.00 and set an overweight rating on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, February 20th. Societe Generale started coverage on shares of Heinz in a research report on Thursday, March 15th. They set a sell rating on the stock. Barclays cut their price target on shares of Heinz from $80.00 to $73.00 and set an overweight rating on the stock in a research report on Thursday, March 29th. Credit Suisse Group reissued an outperform rating and set a $77.00 price target (down from $92.00) on shares of Heinz in a research report on Tuesday, February 20th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets cut their price target on shares of Heinz from $82.00 to $74.00 and set a market perform rating on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, February 20th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating, thirteen have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $83.72.



KHC opened at $58.22 on Friday. The firm has a market capitalization of $72,803.46, a P/E ratio of 16.40, a P/E/G ratio of 1.63 and a beta of 0.59. Heinz has a 12 month low of $57.55 and a 12 month high of $93.88. The company has a current ratio of 0.72, a quick ratio of 0.44 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43.

Heinz (NASDAQ:KHC) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, February 16th. The company reported $0.90 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.96 by ($0.06). The company had revenue of $6.88 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $6.91 billion. Heinz had a net margin of 41.93% and a return on equity of 7.20%. The company’s revenue was up .3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.08 earnings per share. equities analysts forecast that Heinz will post 3.82 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 23rd. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 9th were paid a dividend of $0.625 per share. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, March 8th. This represents a $2.50 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.29%. Heinz’s dividend payout ratio is presently 70.42%.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in KHC. GSA Capital Partners LLP increased its stake in shares of Heinz by 9.7% during the 3rd quarter. GSA Capital Partners LLP now owns 31,589 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,450,000 after purchasing an additional 2,787 shares during the last quarter. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC acquired a new position in Heinz in the 3rd quarter valued at about $1,195,000. Atlantic Trust Group LLC grew its stake in Heinz by 26.9% in the 3rd quarter. Atlantic Trust Group LLC now owns 36,699 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,845,000 after buying an additional 7,786 shares during the last quarter. Confluence Investment Management LLC grew its stake in Heinz by 3.5% in the 4th quarter. Confluence Investment Management LLC now owns 1,072,154 shares of the company’s stock valued at $83,371,000 after buying an additional 36,161 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Sit Investment Associates Inc. grew its stake in Heinz by 10.9% in the 4th quarter. Sit Investment Associates Inc. now owns 316,065 shares of the company’s stock valued at $24,577,000 after buying an additional 31,165 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 63.25% of the company’s stock.

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Heinz Company Profile

The Kraft Heinz Company is a food and beverage company. The Company is engaged in the manufacturing and marketing of food and beverage products, including condiments and sauces, cheese and dairy, meals, meats, refreshment beverages, coffee and other grocery products. The Company’s segments include the United States, Canada and Europe.

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