Market Overview

Barclays Finds Coca-Cola's Stock Refreshing As Consumer Staples Industry Suffers

Barclays Finds Coca-Cola's Stock Refreshing As Consumer Staples Industry Suffers
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Amid upheaval in the consumer staples industry, The Coca-Cola Co (NYSE: KO) is expected to emerge a leader.

The Rating

Barclays analyst Lauren Lieberman upgraded the stock to Overweight and increased her price target from $45 to $48.

The Thesis

Barclays attributes the company’s year-to-date outperformance of the Consumer Staples Select Sect. SPDR (ETF) (NYSE: XLP) more to insulation from sector-wide issues than to broad conviction in the firm’s potential.

As such, Coca-Cola is expected see improved valuation as it evolves through a stable diversification plan, more local-focused operating model and supply chain capabilities better aligned with its bottlers.

“KO is executing a thoughtful business transformation that’s among the most comprehensive we’ve seen (Estee Lauder Companies Inc (NYSE: EL) also comes to mind),” Lieberman wrote in a Thursday note.

The process is expected to drive sustainable, improved growth — 5 percent in organic sales and 6 to 8 percent in profits through 2020, by Barclays forecasts — which could result in a higher valuation premium beyond 25 percent.

“Our model allows cash to build on the balance sheet, though we expect a more asset light and cash flow generative KO to have greater flexibility over time,” Lieberman wrote.

Price Action

At time of publication, Coca-Cola was trading higher by 1.7 percent at $42.26.

Related Links:

This Day In Market History: The First Coca-Cola Is Sold

This Day In Market History: Coca-Cola Launches New Coke

Latest Ratings for KO

Oct 2018Morgan StanleyMaintainsEqual-WeightEqual-Weight
Oct 2018JefferiesMaintainsHoldHold
Oct 2018Deutsche BankMaintainsBuyBuy

View More Analyst Ratings for KO
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

Posted-In: Barclays Lauren LiebermanAnalyst Color Upgrades Price Target Top Stories Analyst Ratings Best of Benzinga


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