The Coca-Cola (KO) Cut to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of The Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Coca-Cola surpassed the industry in the past six months driven by a solid surprise trend, which continued in third-quarter 2018. It delivered better-than-expected earnings and sales in the third quarter, marking the sixth straight quarter of earnings beat and fifth consecutive sales beat. Further, it has been gaining from the ongoing productivity efforts and disciplined growth strategies. The company’s strategy of introducing new products, alongside focus on lifting and shifting successful brands globally is aiding performance. It is also benefiting from the acceleration of sparkling soft drinks category through investment and innovation. However, reported revenues and operating margins were hurt by new accounting standards and currency headwinds. Going forward, the company expects unfavorable currency to hurt revenues and operating margin in the fourth quarter and full-year.”

Several other research firms have also weighed in on KO. Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a buy rating and issued a $56.00 target price on shares of The Coca-Cola in a report on Monday, November 19th. Macquarie reiterated a neutral rating and issued a $50.00 target price on shares of The Coca-Cola in a report on Tuesday, December 4th. Citigroup set a $56.00 target price on shares of The Coca-Cola and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Friday, November 9th. Bank of America set a $55.00 target price on shares of The Coca-Cola and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Friday, December 14th. Finally, UBS Group reiterated a neutral rating and issued a $51.00 target price (up from $50.00) on shares of The Coca-Cola in a report on Thursday, December 13th. Fourteen research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $51.64.

NYSE:KO opened at $47.34 on Thursday. The company has a current ratio of 1.06, a quick ratio of 0.98 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.26. The stock has a market capitalization of $198.66 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.79, a PEG ratio of 2.85 and a beta of 0.62. The Coca-Cola has a 1-year low of $41.45 and a 1-year high of $50.84.

The Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, October 30th. The company reported $0.58 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.55 by $0.03. The company had revenue of $8.25 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $8.20 billion. The Coca-Cola had a net margin of 8.70% and a return on equity of 43.12%. The Coca-Cola’s revenue was down 9.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.50 EPS. Equities analysts expect that The Coca-Cola will post 2.08 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In related news, SVP James L. Dinkins sold 8,754 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, October 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $46.95, for a total transaction of $411,000.30. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 28,354 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,331,220.30. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, insider Brian John Smith sold 43,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, October 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $48.00, for a total transaction of $2,064,000.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 123,908 shares in the company, valued at $5,947,584. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 374,542 shares of company stock worth $18,436,957. Company insiders own 1.48% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in The Coca-Cola by 1.4% during the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 289,055,893 shares of the company’s stock worth $13,351,492,000 after buying an additional 3,918,108 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc increased its stake in The Coca-Cola by 1.4% during the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 289,055,893 shares of the company’s stock worth $13,351,492,000 after buying an additional 3,918,108 shares during the period. Capital International Investors increased its stake in The Coca-Cola by 81.9% during the 3rd quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 63,196,570 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,919,050,000 after buying an additional 28,445,747 shares during the period. FMR LLC increased its stake in The Coca-Cola by 2.3% during the 3rd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 50,012,668 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,310,085,000 after buying an additional 1,116,190 shares during the period. Finally, Morgan Stanley increased its stake in The Coca-Cola by 3.6% during the 2nd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 38,959,393 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,708,760,000 after buying an additional 1,336,852 shares during the period. 65.53% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

The Coca-Cola Company Profile

The Coca-Cola Company, a beverage company, manufactures and distributes various nonalcoholic beverages worldwide. The company provides water, enhanced water, and sports drinks; juices; juice, dairy, and plant–based beverages; teas and coffees; and energy drinks. It also offers concentrates, syrups, beverage bases, source waters, and powders/minerals, as well as fountain syrups to fountain retailers, such as restaurants and convenience stores.

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