NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Hershey Co. (HSY) - Get Report stock is rising 1.39% to $85.60 in early afternoon trading on Thursday after the company reported 2015 fourth quarter earnings that surpassed expectations.

Before the market open this morning, the Hershey, PA-based candy company reported earnings of $1.08 per share for the last quarter of 2015, beating estimates by 3 cents.

Revenue dropped 5% year-over-year to $1.91 billion for the latest quarter, falling short of estimates of $1.98 billion in revenue.

North American sales increased 0.2% to for the quarter, driven by recent acquisitions, such as Allan Candy and Krave meat snacks.

International and other sales fell 26.8% because of weak Chinese sales and unfavorable foreign exchange rates. Retail sales of chocolate in China declined about 13% during the latest quarter.

Additionally, Hershey's board approved a $500 million stock repurchase program, which has no expiration date.

Separately, Hershey has a "buy" rating and a letter grade of B at TheStreet Ratings because of the company's notable return on equity and expanding profit margins. These strengths outweigh the company's lackluster stock performance.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: HSY

TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. 

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