Pessimism Surrounding Overvalued Food Stock Could Unwind

MKC declared a quarterly dividend of $0.37

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McCormick & Company, Incorporated (NYSE:MKC) is an American food company that manufactures, markets, and distributes spices, seasoning mixes, condiments, and other flavoring products to the entire food industry including e-commerce channels, grocery, food manufacturers, and foodservice businesses. MKC makes their products available across 170 countries and territories. McCormick's most popular brands include McCormick, French's, Frank's RedHot, Stubb's, OLD BAY, Lawry's, Zatarain's, Ducros, Vahiné, Cholula, Schwartz, Kamis, DaQiao, Club House, Aeroplane and Gourmet Garden. Heading into today, MKC is trading flat at $84.43.

On June 28, McCormick & Company declared a quarterly dividend of $0.37 per share on its common stocks, payable July 25 to shareholders on record by July 11. The food company’s forward dividend of $1.48 per share represents a 1.77% dividend yield and an increase of 9% over the annual dividend of $1.36 per share paid in fiscal year 2021. This is also the 98th year of consecutive dividend payments by MKC!

McCormick stock has decreased about 4% over the past 12 months and MKC is currently trading down 22% since reaching its record high of $107.35. Additionally, shares of MKC have dropped in price 13% year-to-date and are down 6% over the past month. However, McCormick stock has recovered 7% since bottoming at a 52-week low of $77.85.

The popular seasoning company is expected to report 3.7% revenue growth and 3.9% earnings growth for fiscal 2022. MKC is also estimated grow its  revenues and earnings 4% and 7.6%, respectively, for fiscal 2023.

Nonetheless, MKC’s fundamentals offer very little in terms of valuation, growth, and stability. McCormick stock currently trades at a price-earnings ratio of 32.98 and a price-sales ratio of 3.56, which are both inflated values relative to the business’ growth potential. MKC also has a premium forward price-earnings ratio of 26.88, suggesting McCormick stock is still overvalued despite its decline over the past year.

In addition, the food company comes with a high amount of debt and very little cash. MKC currently owe $5.37 billion in total debt and hold $325.8 million in cash on their balance sheet, making McCormick stock a strong candidate for the short sellers.

An unwinding of options traders' pessimism could put more wind at the stock's sails, as puts are being picked up at an exceptional rate. This is per MKC's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 2.21 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), which stands higher than all readings from the past 12 months.

Mirroring this sentiment, short-term options traders have rarely been more put-biased than they currently are. This is per McCormick stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.48, which stands in the 99th percentile of annual readings.


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