TreeHouse Foods (THS) Rating Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of TreeHouse Foods (NYSE:THS) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report published on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “Although shares of TreeHouse Foods have declined and underperformed the industry in a month, the trend is likely to reverse in the near term. Management is making attempts to enhance its operational performance and optimize cost structure through its TreeHouse 2020 strategy. Notably, this initiative is expected to improve operating margin by 300 bps by the end of 2020. Moreover, the company has been undertaking acquisitions to augment its portfolio, alongside of enhanced focus on organic food offerings. We noted that stiff competition and sluggish store traffic are making things tough for TreeHouse. This is quite evident from third-quarter 2017 results, wherein both top and bottom lines fell year over year and the latter came much below expectations. Apart from this, the divestiture of the SIF business also impacted results, by denting the top line. Additionally, higher freight and commodity costs weighed on the operating income.”

A number of other equities research analysts also recently weighed in on THS. Susquehanna Bancshares reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $75.00 price objective on shares of TreeHouse Foods in a research report on Monday, October 9th. UBS Group started coverage on TreeHouse Foods in a research report on Wednesday, October 18th. They set a neutral rating and a $70.00 price objective on the stock. Jefferies Group set a $100.00 price objective on TreeHouse Foods and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Sunday, October 29th. Credit Suisse Group set a $68.00 price objective on TreeHouse Foods and gave the company a neutral rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 31st. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $85.00 price objective on shares of TreeHouse Foods in a research report on Thursday, November 2nd. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have assigned a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. TreeHouse Foods presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $59.40.

Shares of TreeHouse Foods (NYSE:THS) opened at $43.25 on Friday. TreeHouse Foods has a 12-month low of $40.26 and a 12-month high of $90.42. The firm has a market capitalization of $2,550.00, a PE ratio of -9.59, a P/E/G ratio of 2.45 and a beta of 0.42. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.01, a quick ratio of 0.81 and a current ratio of 2.16.

TreeHouse Foods announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock repurchase program on Thursday, November 2nd that allows the company to repurchase $400.00 million in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are usually an indication that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

In other TreeHouse Foods news, VP Thomas Emmet Oneill III sold 2,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, December 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $45.32, for a total value of $90,640.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 135,019 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $6,119,061.08. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Sam K. Reed sold 11,480 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, December 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $46.36, for a total value of $532,212.80. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 81,147 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,761,974.92. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 24,960 shares of company stock valued at $1,193,638. Corporate insiders own 3.50% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Wells Fargo & Company MN lifted its holdings in shares of TreeHouse Foods by 12.2% during the third quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 5,133,963 shares of the company’s stock worth $347,723,000 after purchasing an additional 557,363 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of TreeHouse Foods by 1.2% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 4,574,766 shares of the company’s stock worth $373,713,000 after purchasing an additional 56,356 shares during the period. Victory Capital Management Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of TreeHouse Foods by 616.9% during the third quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 3,273,871 shares of the company’s stock worth $221,740,000 after purchasing an additional 2,817,230 shares during the period. State Street Corp lifted its holdings in shares of TreeHouse Foods by 1.8% during the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 1,472,162 shares of the company’s stock worth $120,266,000 after purchasing an additional 26,686 shares during the period. Finally, NWQ Investment Management Company LLC lifted its holdings in shares of TreeHouse Foods by 9.5% during the third quarter. NWQ Investment Management Company LLC now owns 1,271,494 shares of the company’s stock worth $86,118,000 after purchasing an additional 110,175 shares during the period.

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About TreeHouse Foods

TreeHouse Foods, Inc is a consumer packaged food and beverage manufacturer. The Company’s segments include North American Retail Grocery, Food Away From Home, and Industrial and Export. The Company manufactures a range of shelf stable, refrigerated, fresh and frozen products. Its product categories include beverages, salad dressings, snack nuts, beverage enhancers, pickles, sauces, cereals, pasta and dry dinners, cookies and crackers, retail bakery, aseptic products, jams and other products.

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