Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of The Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report report published on Monday, Zacks.com reports. The brokerage currently has $55.00 target price on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Coca-Cola has outpaced the industry in the past year, owing to the effective execution of strategies to evolve as a consumer-centric total beverage company. This bolstered the company’s quarterly performances as evident from a robust surprise trend. First-quarter 2019 marked its seventh positive earnings surprise in the last eight quarters and seventh straight sales beat. Top and bottom lines benefited from ongoing productivity efforts and disciplined growth strategies along with robust performance across all segments. Further, innovation and investment in core categories and brands have been the key focus area for Coca-Cola, which has led to the expansion of retail value share. Moreover, its transformative global re-franchising initiatives are expected to boost margins. However, the company expects adverse currency rates to significantly hurt comparable revenues and operating income in the second quarter and 2019.”

A number of other equities research analysts also recently commented on the stock. Barclays set a $54.00 price objective on shares of The Coca-Cola and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, May 16th. Morgan Stanley raised shares of The Coca-Cola from an equal weight rating to an overweight rating and increased their price objective for the company from $52.00 to $55.00 in a research report on Tuesday, May 14th. ValuEngine raised shares of The Coca-Cola from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, May 1st. Deutsche Bank increased their price objective on shares of The Coca-Cola from $53.00 to $54.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, April 24th. Finally, UBS Group increased their price objective on shares of The Coca-Cola from $50.00 to $52.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a research report on Wednesday, April 24th. Thirteen research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $51.20.

Shares of KO opened at $48.85 on Monday. The Coca-Cola has a fifty-two week low of $41.93 and a fifty-two week high of $50.84. The company has a market cap of $209.88 billion, a P/E ratio of 23.49, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.31 and a beta of 0.53. The company has a current ratio of 1.02, a quick ratio of 0.91 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.48.

The Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, April 23rd. The company reported $0.48 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.46 by $0.02. The Coca-Cola had a net margin of 20.91% and a return on equity of 45.12%. The firm had revenue of $8 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $7.89 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.47 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.3% on a year-over-year basis. On average, research analysts forecast that The Coca-Cola will post 2.1 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 1st. Stockholders of record on Friday, June 14th will be issued a $0.40 dividend. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.28%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, June 13th. The Coca-Cola’s payout ratio is 76.92%.

In other news, SVP Beatriz R. Perez sold 14,094 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, May 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $49.50, for a total value of $697,653.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 108,551 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,373,274.50. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, SVP Nancy Quan sold 23,320 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, May 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.95, for a total transaction of $1,118,194.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 165,049 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $7,914,099.55. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 66,840 shares of company stock valued at $3,257,201. Company insiders own 1.33% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Vanguard Group Inc raised its stake in shares of The Coca-Cola by 1.4% in the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 289,055,893 shares of the company’s stock worth $13,351,492,000 after purchasing an additional 3,918,108 shares during the last quarter. Personal Capital Advisors Corp raised its stake in shares of The Coca-Cola by 3.7% in the fourth quarter. Personal Capital Advisors Corp now owns 773,704 shares of the company’s stock worth $36,635,000 after purchasing an additional 27,766 shares during the last quarter. Highwater Wealth Management LLC purchased a new stake in shares of The Coca-Cola in the fourth quarter worth approximately $158,000. Moller Financial Services purchased a new stake in shares of The Coca-Cola in the fourth quarter worth approximately $292,000. Finally, Douglass Winthrop Advisors LLC raised its stake in shares of The Coca-Cola by 0.6% in the fourth quarter. Douglass Winthrop Advisors LLC now owns 160,534 shares of the company’s stock worth $7,601,000 after purchasing an additional 1,000 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 67.99% of the company’s stock.

The Coca-Cola Company Profile

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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