Investors who bought stocks during the COVID-19 market crash in 2020 have generally experienced some big gains in the last two years. But there is no question some big-name stocks performed better than others since the pandemic bottom.
Coca-Cola's Run: One company that has been a solid investment in the past two years has been soda giant Coca-Cola Co KO.
In recent years, Coca-Cola has been investing in expanding outside its core soda business into higher-growth areas such as water, plant-based beverages, coffees, teas and other drinks. Unfortunately, restaurant, bar and stadium closings in 2020 hit the company’s away-from-home sales hard, creating a difficult environment for Coca-Cola.
At the beginning of 2020, Coca-Cola shares were trading at $55.32. By the beginning of March, the stock had dropped to $53.93 after news of the virus spreading in China prompted concerns about a U.S. pandemic. On March 23, Coca-Cola stock ultimately bottomed at $36.27. Fortunately, the stock rebounded somewhat from that point on as the broader market recovered.
By early September 2020, Coca-Cola shares were back above $50.
Coca-Cola In 2022, Beyond: By early January 2021, Coca-Cola shares had grinded to a high as $54.93, but the stock took a big hit when RBC Capital downgraded the stock to Sector Perform and said its “valuation is near-full.” In the note, the analyst said the negative impact of COVID-19 could last longer than many investors assume.
After dipping as low as $48.11 in January following the downgrade, Coca-Cola spent a year marching steadily higher. In recent quarters, Coca-Cola has reported sales numbers that surpassed pre-pandemic numbers in 2019.
In November 2021, Coca-Cola announced a $5.6 billion buyout of sports-drink company BodyArmor, its largest brand acquisition in history.
The stock finally surpassed its pre-pandemic all-time high in early 2022, surging to $67.20 in April before pulling back to $58.83 today.
Still, investors who bought Coca-Cola on the day it hit its 2020 pandemic low and held on have generated a positive return on their investment. In fact, $1,000 in Coca-Cola stock bought on March 23, 2020, would be worth about $1,783 today, assuming reinvested dividends.
Looking ahead, analysts are expecting Coca-Cola stock to rebound in the next 12 months. The average price target among the 22 analysts covering the stock is $70, suggesting 10.3% upside from current levels.
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