Zacks Investment Research Upgrades The Coca-Cola (KO) to “Hold”

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Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of The Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Tuesday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Coca-Cola surpassed the industry in the past year driven by its ongoing productivity efforts and disciplined growth strategies. This aided results in fourth-quarter 2018, wherein earnings were in line while sales beat estimates marginally. Price/mix improvements due to core business strength also contributed to the solid results. Acceleration of sparkling soft drinks category through investment and innovation also bode well. Moreover, its transformative global re-franchising initiatives are expected to boost margins. However, the company issued a bleak earnings and sales view for 2019. Notably, the company expects adverse currency rates to significantly hurt comparable revenues and operating income in the first quarter and 2019. Currency headwinds have persistently hurt the company’s results for the past few quarters, including fourth-quarter 2018. Further, emerging market volatility and soft CSD volumes continue to remain impediments.”

Several other equities research analysts have also recently weighed in on KO. Royal Bank of Canada reissued a buy rating and set a $56.00 price target on shares of The Coca-Cola in a research report on Wednesday, February 13th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reissued a neutral rating and set a $51.00 price target on shares of The Coca-Cola in a research report on Thursday, February 14th. Goldman Sachs Group reissued a neutral rating and set a $47.00 price target on shares of The Coca-Cola in a research report on Thursday, February 14th. Citigroup cut shares of The Coca-Cola from a buy rating to a neutral rating and dropped their price target for the company from $56.00 to $50.00 in a research report on Thursday, February 14th. Finally, UBS Group reissued a neutral rating and set a $50.00 price target on shares of The Coca-Cola in a research report on Friday, February 15th. Sixteen equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $50.60.

Shares of KO opened at $46.95 on Tuesday. The firm has a market cap of $200.50 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.57, a PEG ratio of 3.16 and a beta of 0.52. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.33, a current ratio of 1.05 and a quick ratio of 0.95. The Coca-Cola has a twelve month low of $41.45 and a twelve month high of $50.84.

The Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 14th. The company reported $0.43 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.43. The business had revenue of $7.10 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $7.07 billion. The Coca-Cola had a net margin of 20.20% and a return on equity of 43.91%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 5.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.39 EPS. As a group, equities research analysts forecast that The Coca-Cola will post 2.09 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, April 1st. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 15th were issued a $0.40 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, March 14th. This is a positive change from The Coca-Cola’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.39. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.41%. The Coca-Cola’s dividend payout ratio is 76.92%.

In related news, SVP Beatriz R. Perez sold 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $48.50, for a total value of $485,000.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 92,645 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,493,282.50. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, insider Beatriz R. Perez sold 21,742 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, February 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $48.76, for a total transaction of $1,060,139.92. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 92,645 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,517,370.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.33% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Prime Capital Investment Advisors LLC bought a new stake in The Coca-Cola during the 1st quarter valued at about $28,000. Orrstown Financial Services Inc. increased its stake in The Coca-Cola by 230.8% during the 1st quarter. Orrstown Financial Services Inc. now owns 741 shares of the company’s stock valued at $35,000 after purchasing an additional 517 shares in the last quarter. Transamerica Financial Advisors Inc. increased its stake in The Coca-Cola by 567.7% during the 4th quarter. Transamerica Financial Advisors Inc. now owns 848 shares of the company’s stock valued at $41,000 after purchasing an additional 721 shares in the last quarter. Financial Gravity Companies Inc. bought a new stake in The Coca-Cola during the 4th quarter valued at about $45,000. Finally, Cordasco Financial Network increased its stake in The Coca-Cola by 26.1% during the 4th quarter. Cordasco Financial Network now owns 1,034 shares of the company’s stock valued at $49,000 after purchasing an additional 214 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 67.83% of the company’s stock.

About The Coca-Cola

The Coca-Cola Company, a beverage company, manufactures and distributes various nonalcoholic beverages worldwide. The company provides sparkling soft drinks; water, enhanced water, and sports drinks; 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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