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Bear of the Day: Hain Celestial (HAIN)

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A leading name in the organic and natural products space, Hain Celestial Group Inc. (HAIN - Free Report) operates primarily in North America, Europe, and India. Its mission is to be the leading marketer, manufacturer and seller of organic and natural, better-for-you products. Hain is headquartered in Boulder, CO.

The company is present in many natural categories, with well-known brands like Earth’s Best, Ella’s Kitchen, Terra, Healthy Valley, Almond Dream, Plainville Farms, Hain Pure Foods, Rudi’s, Arrowhead Mills, and many others.

Hain’s recent third quarter was a disappointing one, with earnings and revenues falling short of expectations. The stock is currently sitting at a #5 (Strong Sell) on the Zacks Rank. What’s next for this organic food conglomerate?

Disappointing Q3 Results

Last month, Hain reported third quarter fiscal 2018 results where both its top and bottom line missed consensus estimates. However, both metrics managed to improve year-over-year, with revenues up 8% year-over-year.

Net sales in the U.S. fell 3%, but its U.K. and Rest of World divisions outperformed, increasing 19% and 15%, respectively.

Gross profits were down 4.4% to $133 million.

Additionally, adjusted operating income dropped almost 5%, while adjusted operating margin decreased 110 bps to 8.9%.

Earnings Outlook

Estimates took a hit in the days following the report.

For the current quarter, six analysts cut their outlook in the last 60 days, and the consensus has dipped 29 cents from $0.55 to $0.26 per share. Earnings are expected to decline around 39% for the period.

Six analysts have revised their estimates downward for fiscal 2018 as well, and earnings are projected to fall about 5%. The consensus has decreased from $1.66 to $1.16 per share.

Looking at the next fiscal year, earnings could grow 15%, but the current consensus sits at $1.33 per share, having fallen 53 cents in the past 60 days.

Can HAIN Stock Turn Things Around?

Shares of Hain Celestial are down nearly 32% so far this year and have slipped over 17% in the past one year. Compared to the S&P 500, the index has gained 4.2% and 14%, respectively.

The company is currently trading at a forward P/E of 24.9X.

Looking ahead, Hain is committed to a strategic four-point plan that includes investing in top brands and growing globally; delivering on Terra cost savings and productivity; enhancing leadership to ensure goals are met; and returning value to shareholders.

Its Q4 guidance did come in below what analysts were expecting. Net sales are projected to fall in the range of $2.43 billion and $2.5 billion, with U.S. divisional sales expected to remain flat or decline slightly.

There is no doubt that HAIN is going through some tough times, but the stock is on a little bit of a bounce back at the moment. While this could be a fake bounce, it could also be a sign of an upcoming turnaround, especially if the company can stick to its current strategic plan.

For investors wanting exposure to food stocks, and one with more near-term potential, they should consider Conagra Brands (CAG - Free Report) , home to popular supermarket brands like Reddi-wip and Marie Callender’s, among many others. It’s a #2 (Buy) on the Zacks Rank right now, but earnings could grow almost 18% for the current fiscal year.

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