Market Overview

Could 2012 Be a Strong Year for National Beverage?

National Beverage Corp (NASDAQ: FIZZ) is one of the more intriguing stocks in the beverage sector. According to FactSet, it is the only company in the entire beverage industry with an earnings growth rate between 15-30%, a PEG of less than 1.2, and a total debt/assets ratio of less than 30%.

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Based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, National Beverage Corp is a US beverage developer, manufacturer, and distributor that primarily sells soft drinks. In 2006, it was ranked by Beverage Digest as the fifth-biggest soft drink company in the US.

Below is a chart that compares National Beverage Corp with the beverages-soft drink industry as a whole.

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Though National Beverage Corp's overall performance is relatively strong for this industry, although several of its financials are under industry levels.

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As can be seen in the above chart from FactSet Estimates, National Beverage Corp's 2012 performance is expected to be better than its 2011 performance. The company's growth rate, gross profit, EBIT, and net income are all expected to improve.

This in sharp contrast to the expectations analysts have for Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) and Pepsi (NYSE: PEP). For example, on January 11, 2012, UBS downgraded the two beverage giants as volume growth for the companies is expected to slow down in 2012.

Regardless, challenges may persist, both for the company and the broader sector. The company is currently trading near its all-time high. Value investors may wish to consider the stock, although they may want to consider waiting for a pull back before taking a position.

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