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Icahn Exits Hain Celestial

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Carl Icahn completely offloaded his stake in The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (HAIN - Free Report) . Once a major stockholder in the natural food and personal care products maker, Icahn and related entities sold the remaining 3,589,963 shares to Jefferies LLC, which acted as an underwriter. Earlier this month, Icahn divested approximately 50% of his stake in Hain Celestial, selling 3,650,000 shares.

Hain Celestial remains a healthy option for investors. Barring a few hiccups, the shares have been portraying an upward trend since February end and is gradually inching closer to its 52-week high of $85.48. Considering the last traded price of $79.40 on Sep 13, the stock has amassed a year-to-date return of roughly 40.6%. The long-term EPS growth rate stands healthy at 13.6%.

Moreover, the company’s last traded price was above the 50 and 200-day moving averages, which stand at $76.94 and $67.30, respectively. In fact, the stock has been consistently trading above its 200-day moving average since Mar 19, 2013, but has remained above the 50-day moving average since Jul 1, 2013.

If we look at the company’s earnings surprise history for the last 13 quarters, Hain Celestial has topped estimates by an average of 4.6%. In the last concluded quarter, the company posted earnings of 65 cents a share that comfortably surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 62 cents and surged 38.3% year over year.

Management cited that strong top-line growth, integration of acquired businesses, focus on high margin carrying brands, and elimination of underperforming private label brands facilitated the bottom-line growth.

Hain Celestial hopes to sustain strong momentum across entire business segments as it remains well positioned to capitalize on the growing global demand for organic products. Alongside, management now anticipates sales in the range of $2,025 million to $2,050 million in fiscal 2014, reflecting a year-over-year increase of 17%. Earnings are projected in the range of $2.95 to $3.05 per share, up 16% to 20% year over year.

Currently, Hain Celestial carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other stocks worth considering in the food-miscellaneous sector include, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. holding a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), and Pinnacle Foods Inc.   and Dole Food Company Inc. both carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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