Hershey's has been a pretty sweet deal for investors in the past half-decade or so. The Hershey, Pa.-maker of its namesake chocolate, Kisses, Reese's, Krackel and Mr. Goodbar has watched earnings grow over the past five years as share prices jumped more than 70%. That price is up more than 17% this year alone and has paid dividends of $1.52 a share and yielded about 2.2%.
The 2008 financial crisis and 2009 market collapse had just about no effect on the share price, but that doesn't mean Hershey doesn't have problems ahead. It's been racking up debt, has a long-term debt/equity ratio of 175% and its free cash flow is just about nonexistent. Neither issue has been a problem so far, but fattening up on this stock too much now could lead to some discomfort later.
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