Coca-Cola Company (The) (NYSE:KO) Upgraded to “Buy” by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Coca-Cola Company (The) (NYSE:KO) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Friday, October 27th. They currently have $52.00 price target on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Coca-Cola reported better-than-expected third-quarter 2017 results. Lower SG&A expense (down 20%), higher gross margin (up 170 basis points or bps), and higher operating margin (up 404 bps) helped it come up with better numbers. Organic revenues were up 4%, driven by 3% growth in price/mix and concentrate sales growth of 1%. However, Coca-Cola's total sales decreased 15%, marking the 10th consecutive quarterly decline in revenues. Although top line needs to show sustained improvement, we are encouraged by the company’s strategic efforts in making its portfolio as a total beverage company with improved marketing and innovation, focus on driving revenues by improved price/mix, digital focus, and productivity initiatives toward driving margins. Further, solid performance of Coke Zero Sugar globally (growing high single digit) is quite encouraging.”

Other equities research analysts also recently issued reports about the stock. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $47.00 target price on shares of Coca-Cola Company (The) in a research note on Wednesday, October 25th. Citigroup Inc. set a $53.00 target price on shares of Coca-Cola Company (The) and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, August 3rd. Cowen and Company reissued a hold rating and set a $42.00 price target on shares of Coca-Cola Company (The) in a research note on Thursday, September 28th. Macquarie began coverage on shares of Coca-Cola Company (The) in a research note on Friday, September 15th. They set a neutral rating and a $47.00 price target on the stock. Finally, Vetr downgraded shares of Coca-Cola Company (The) from a strong-buy rating to a hold rating and set a $45.35 price target on the stock. in a research note on Monday, October 9th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seventeen have given a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $47.16.

Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) traded up $0.31 on Friday, reaching $46.54. 8,022,800 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 11,431,871. The firm has a market capitalization of $196,970.64, a P/E ratio of 24.46, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.91 and a beta of 0.70. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.47, a quick ratio of 1.30 and a current ratio of 1.39. Coca-Cola Company has a 1 year low of $39.88 and a 1 year high of $46.98.

Coca-Cola Company (The) (NYSE:KO) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The company reported $0.50 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.49 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $9.08 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $8.73 billion. Coca-Cola Company (The) had a net margin of 12.20% and a return on equity of 36.21%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 14.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.49 earnings per share. analysts forecast that Coca-Cola Company will post 1.9 earnings per share for the current year.

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The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 15th. Investors of record on Friday, December 1st will be paid a dividend of $0.37 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, November 30th. This represents a $1.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.18%. Coca-Cola Company (The)’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 140.95%.

In other news, insider Brian John Smith sold 100,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $46.10, for a total transaction of $4,610,000.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 136,385 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,287,348.50. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, insider J Alexander Douglas, Jr. sold 338,009 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $46.09, for a total value of $15,578,834.81. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 320,013 shares in the company, valued at $14,749,399.17. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 1.51% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its holdings in Coca-Cola Company (The) by 1.8% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 275,221,018 shares of the company’s stock valued at $12,343,662,000 after buying an additional 4,818,963 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. raised its holdings in Coca-Cola Company (The) by 0.3% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 241,677,773 shares of the company’s stock valued at $10,839,247,000 after buying an additional 750,257 shares during the period. State Street Corp raised its holdings in Coca-Cola Company (The) by 1.2% during the 1st quarter. State Street Corp now owns 173,789,519 shares of the company’s stock valued at $7,375,663,000 after buying an additional 2,009,675 shares during the period. Capital World Investors raised its holdings in Coca-Cola Company (The) by 8.9% during the 2nd quarter. Capital World Investors now owns 142,047,166 shares of the company’s stock valued at $6,370,815,000 after buying an additional 11,593,679 shares during the period. Finally, Northern Trust Corp raised its holdings in Coca-Cola Company (The) by 4.5% during the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 50,761,341 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,276,647,000 after buying an additional 2,167,225 shares during the period. 64.79% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Coca-Cola Company (The)

The Coca-Cola Company is a beverage company. The Company owns or licenses and markets non-alcoholic beverage brands, primarily sparkling beverages and a range of still beverages, such as waters, flavored waters and enhanced waters, juices and juice drinks, ready-to-drink teas and coffees, sports drinks, dairy and energy drinks.

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