Why Hain Celestial Group Stock Gained 18% in March

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What happened

Organic and natural foods specialist Hain Celestial Group (NASDAQ: HAIN) outpaced the market last month by rising 18% compared to a 1.8% uptick in the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

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The rally added to a good year so far for investors, with shares up over 35% in 2019. However, the stock is down significantly over wider 1-year and 3-year time frames.

So what

Hain Celestial's management team has been working on a turnaround plan aimed at returning the company to profitable growth in the key U.S. market. Struggles there kept sales roughly flat in the most recent quarter while earnings slumped. Both the top- and bottom-line figures have declined in each of the last three years.

Some on Wall Street are impressed with the rebound strategies that CEO Mark Schiller and his team have put in place. These include cutting underperforming brands from the portfolio and investing that cash into more productive growth areas. The stock jumped as Wall Street analysts made positive comments on these initiatives following management's investor day presentation in late February.

Now what

The prospect of a return to growth was enough to send shares higher last month, but only because the stock is sitting near decade lows. For a real rebound to take hold, Hain Celestial will have to show a string of improving sales and profitability in the competitive U.S. market.

There's no evidence of those increases happening yet, so investors shouldn't take this rally as a signal that Hain Celestial has put its struggles behind it.

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Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Hain Celestial. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.