Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Buy

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday, September 14th. The firm currently has $132.00 price target on the basic materials company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Monsanto's shares have outperformed the industry in a year's time. The company reported better-than-expected results for third-quarter fiscal 2017. Increasing demand for crop-yield enhancing products, such as Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Soybeans, and launch of non-imitable technological solutions are likely to boost the company's top-line performance, moving ahead. Further, robust top-line performance, higher planted acreage, as well as lower U.S. corn and soybean costs are expected to bolster bottom-line results in near term. Also, the successful accomplishment of Bayer's buyout deal is anticipated to open up a number of opportunities for Monsanto. Over the last 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the stock moved north for fiscal 2018.”

A number of other research firms also recently weighed in on MON. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a buy rating and set a $128.00 target price on shares of Monsanto in a report on Friday, September 1st. BidaskClub downgraded Monsanto from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Sunday, July 16th. Vetr upgraded Monsanto from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $122.35 target price on the stock in a report on Wednesday, July 12th. Susquehanna Bancshares Inc reissued a neutral rating and issued a $128.00 price target (up from $125.00) on shares of Monsanto in a research report on Tuesday, June 27th. Finally, UBS AG cut Monsanto from a buy rating to a neutral rating and set a $128.00 price target on the stock. in a research report on Friday, August 18th. Ten research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the stock. Monsanto presently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $124.09.

Shares of Monsanto (NYSE MON) opened at 119.77 on Thursday. Monsanto has a 12 month low of $97.35 and a 12 month high of $119.82. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $117.37 and its 200-day moving average price is $116.53. The company has a market cap of $52.62 billion, a PE ratio of 25.87 and a beta of 1.07.

Monsanto (NYSE:MON) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, June 28th. The basic materials company reported $1.93 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.74 by $0.19. Monsanto had a return on equity of 45.26% and a net margin of 14.11%. The company had revenue of $4.23 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.18 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $2.17 EPS. Monsanto’s revenue was up 1.0% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts predict that Monsanto will post $4.89 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 27th. Shareholders of record on Friday, October 6th will be issued a dividend of $0.54 per share. This represents a $2.16 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.80%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, October 5th. Monsanto’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 46.75%.

In other Monsanto news, EVP Robert T. Fraley sold 52,410 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $117.95, for a total transaction of $6,181,759.50. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, EVP Steven Mizell sold 11,300 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $118.57, for a total transaction of $1,339,841.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 55,011 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,522,654.27. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.79% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Yorkville Capital Management LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Monsanto by 2.7% in the 2nd quarter. Yorkville Capital Management LLC now owns 18,800 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,225,000 after acquiring an additional 500 shares during the last quarter. Paulson & CO. Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Monsanto by 348.5% in the 2nd quarter. Paulson & CO. Inc. now owns 159,200 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $18,843,000 after acquiring an additional 123,700 shares during the last quarter. Intl Fcstone Inc. bought a new position in shares of Monsanto in the 2nd quarter valued at about $794,000. Paradigm Financial Advisors LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Monsanto by 44.7% in the 2nd quarter. Paradigm Financial Advisors LLC now owns 17,316 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,050,000 after acquiring an additional 5,351 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Ashburton Jersey Ltd lifted its holdings in shares of Monsanto by 20.4% in the 2nd quarter. Ashburton Jersey Ltd now owns 21,642 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,562,000 after acquiring an additional 3,660 shares during the last quarter. 74.80% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Monsanto

Monsanto Company (Monsanto), along with its subsidiaries, is a provider of agricultural products for farmers. The Company provides seeds, biotechnology trait products, herbicides and digital agriculture tools to farmers. The Company operates through two segments: Seeds and Genomics, and Agricultural Productivity.

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