Hershey (HSY) Stock Slumps on Lower Earnings Forecast; Jim Cramer Doesn't Like China Weakness Excuse

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Hershey Co  (HSY) were slumping, down 2.45% to $90 in early market trading Friday, after the chocolate maker lowered its 2015 earnings forecast.

The company cited lower than expected chocolate sales growth in China.

TheStreet's Jim Cramer, Portfolio Manager of the Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio says, "I didn't like the excuse about weakness in China and blaming weak chocolate sales on macroeconomic slowdown for those light sales."

"Hershey recently made a big acquisition in China, GoldenMonkey and it seems very poorly timed in retrospect. It's all very disappointing and quizzical. I would not be a buyer," he added.

Hershey now guides full-year earnings of between $4.10 per share to $4.18 per share, lower compared to consensus estimates of $4.31 per share.

The company also announced its productivity initiatives and changes in its global leadership team.

"We have taken a fresh look at how our resources and people are deployed globally and are better aligning our structure to the company's long-term strategies and goals," said Hershey chairman, president and CEO John Bilbrey.

In February, Hershey expected chocolate sales in China to rise to $4.3 billion by 2019.

The projection represented about a 60% increase from the $2.7 billion in 2014, driven by demand from the growing urban population, according to Reuters.

Hersey, Penn.-based Hershey Co is a provider of chocolate and sugar confectionery. The company manufactures, markets, sells and distributes its products under more than 80 brand names.

HSY ChartHSY data by YCharts

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