Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Sonoco (SON) to Buy

Sonoco (NYSE:SON) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Thursday. The firm currently has a $58.00 target price on the industrial products company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective would indicate a potential upside of 11.93% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “For full-year 2018, Sonoco expects its adjusted earnings per share will be $3.22-$3.32, reflecting a downward revision in the expected effective tax rate and anticipated earnings accretion from the Highland Packaging acquisition. Compared with the earnings per share in 2017, the mid-point of the guidance reflects year-over-year growth of 17%. For second-quarter 2018, the company projects adjusted earnings per share of 83-89 cents, reflecting 100% year-over-year growth at the mid-point. Sonoco is poised to gain from the Highland Packaging acquisition which will strengthen its thermoforming business. Further, its Grow and Optimize strategy will also aid growth. Moreover, the stock has outperformed the industry over the past month.”

Several other research firms have also weighed in on SON. TheStreet raised Sonoco from a “c+” rating to a “b” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 19th. Vertical Research raised Sonoco from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, March 23rd. UBS started coverage on Sonoco in a research note on Friday, April 13th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $55.00 price objective on the stock. Bank of America lowered Sonoco from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $59.00 price objective on the stock. in a research note on Monday, April 2nd. Finally, KeyCorp reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Sonoco in a research note on Thursday, April 19th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $54.29.

NYSE SON opened at $51.82 on Thursday. The stock has a market capitalization of $5.14 billion, a PE ratio of 18.60, a PEG ratio of 3.36 and a beta of 1.12. Sonoco has a 1-year low of $46.55 and a 1-year high of $55.77. The company has a current ratio of 1.61, a quick ratio of 1.16 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.72.

Sonoco (NYSE:SON) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 15th. The industrial products company reported $0.72 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.73 by ($0.01). The firm had revenue of $1.30 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.27 billion. Sonoco had a net margin of 3.79% and a return on equity of 17.02%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 13.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.62 earnings per share. sell-side analysts expect that Sonoco will post 3.29 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In related news, SVP Vicki B. Arthur sold 3,780 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, May 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $52.75, for a total transaction of $199,395.00. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 13,399 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $706,797.25. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, SVP Rodger D. Fuller sold 13,974 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, April 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.05, for a total value of $713,372.70. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 72,174 shares in the company, valued at $3,684,482.70. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 23,632 shares of company stock worth $1,219,525 over the last three months. 1.70% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in Sonoco by 0.5% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 10,807,162 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $574,293,000 after acquiring an additional 50,184 shares in the last quarter. First Trust Advisors LP increased its holdings in Sonoco by 12.3% during the 4th quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 775,642 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $41,218,000 after purchasing an additional 84,665 shares during the last quarter. Capital Analysts LLC purchased a new stake in Sonoco during the 4th quarter worth approximately $7,752,000. Jefferies Group LLC increased its holdings in Sonoco by 23.6% during the 4th quarter. Jefferies Group LLC now owns 42,608 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $2,264,000 after purchasing an additional 8,125 shares during the last quarter. Finally, MAI Capital Management purchased a new stake in Sonoco during the 4th quarter worth approximately $215,000. 72.34% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Sonoco

Sonoco Products Company manufactures and sells industrial and consumer packaging products in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. The company operates through four segments: Consumer Packaging, Display and Packaging, Paper and Industrial Converted Products, and Protective Solutions. The Consumer Packaging segment offers composite and thermoformed plastic round and shaped rigid containers and trays; extruded and injection-molded plastic products; printed flexible packaging products; brand artwork management; and metal and peelable membrane ends and closures.

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