For consumers,Hershey (
) is best known for sweet indulgences such as Reese's Peanut
Butter Cups, Kit Kat bars and Almond Joy candies. For investors,
the company offers sweet, steady growth and a competitive
Since 2000, the candy giant has delivered higher earnings in
all but two years. Nearly all of its gains have been in double
digits. Its only two blemishes in recent years were in 2007 and
2008. Profit fell 12% and 10%, respectively during tough economic
Last month, Hershey beat expectations with a 9% rise in
second-quarter earnings. Sales rose 7%. Results were boosted by
strong demand for its Hershey's brand chocolate bars, Reese's
products and Ice Breakers mints.
The company also lifted its full-year earnings growth target
to about 14% from 12%. Currently analysts polled by Thomson
Reuters see Hershey's bottom line rising 15% to $3.71 a
Also with its Q2 results, Hershey lifted its quarterly
dividend by 15.5% to 48.5 cents a share. That's its third hike
since early 2012. Its dividend has grown 28% over the trio of
raises. Hershey's next dividend will be paid Sept. 13 to
shareholders of record Aug. 23.
On an annual basis, Hershey pays $1.94 a share, giving it a
yield of about 2%. It has the second highest yield among the four
dividend-paying stocks in the Food-Confectionery group.Rocky
Mountain Chocolate Factory (
) offers the highest yield. But Hershey has a higher Composite
Hershey is at an all-time high, but extended from a 92.09 buy
point from a flat base cleared July 15. The stock has been on a
roll lately. Last week, it logged a sixth straight weekly gain.
It climbed further so far this week.