General Mills (GIS) Earns “Buy” Rating from Jefferies Group

Jefferies Group reiterated their buy rating on shares of General Mills (NYSE:GIS) in a research note issued to investors on Friday. Jefferies Group currently has a $63.00 target price on the stock.

“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).”,” Jefferies Group’s analyst commented.

A number of other research analysts have also issued reports on GIS. Zacks Investment Research upgraded General Mills from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Thursday, November 2nd. Societe Generale upgraded General Mills from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 8th. Susquehanna Bancshares set a $57.00 price target on General Mills and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 13th. Wells Fargo & Co upgraded General Mills from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and set a $63.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Monday, December 18th. Finally, Edward Jones restated a hold rating on shares of General Mills in a research note on Wednesday, December 20th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fourteen have given a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $58.30.

General Mills (NYSE:GIS) traded down $1.97 during trading hours on Friday, reaching $52.98. The company had a trading volume of 11,895,685 shares, compared to its average volume of 3,460,000. The stock has a market capitalization of $30,150.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.41, a PEG ratio of 2.40 and a beta of 0.61. General Mills has a 52-week low of $49.65 and a 52-week high of $61.38. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.79, a quick ratio of 0.53 and a current ratio of 0.81.

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

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, February 1st. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, January 10th were given a dividend of $0.49 per share. This represents a $1.96 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.70%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, January 9th. General Mills’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 71.79%.

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 sale, 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 the SEC website. 1.40% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Avestar Capital LLC acquired a new stake in shares of General Mills during the fourth quarter worth about $100,000. Cable Hill Partners LLC increased its position in General Mills by 274.5% in the 3rd quarter. Cable Hill Partners LLC now owns 2,247 shares of the company’s stock valued at $116,000 after acquiring an additional 1,647 shares during the period. Truewealth LLC acquired a new position in General Mills in the 4th quarter valued at about $119,000. Grove Bank & Trust increased its position in General Mills by 322.7% in the 3rd quarter. Grove Bank & Trust now owns 2,460 shares of the company’s stock valued at $127,000 after acquiring an additional 1,878 shares during the period. Finally, Financial Gravity Companies Inc. acquired a new position in General Mills in the 4th quarter valued at about $131,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds 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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