Why One Key Analyst Thinks Beverage Stocks Are About to Slow Down

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It could be difficult to argue for a meaningful multiple expansion for any industry from the current levels, considering the broad markets are near all-time highs after the “Trump trade.” In particular, one analyst believes that beverage stocks are about to slow down. Although a sell-off is not expected, investor focus is expected to shift more toward safety.

24/7 Wall St. has taken a close look at a recent report from BMO Capital Markets and how it views the beverage industry and where these stocks stand to go from here.

First, Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform with a $46 target price (versus a $45.98 prior closing price). BMO had noted about Coca-Cola in May:

Though below-target EPS growth in 2017/18 is disappointing and would prevent a material recovery in KO stock, we are encouraged by incoming CEO James Quincy’s willingness to challenge, and potentially reduce, KO’s reliance on carbonated soft drinks and reorient the product portfolio to better align it with evolving preferences.

Shares were last seen at $45.48 apiece. Coca-Cola has a 52-week trading range of $39.88 to $46.06 and a consensus analyst target price of $45.50.

PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE: PEP) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform with a $120 price target (versus a $117.70 close). The firm noted that PepsiCo’s consistent, predictable operating performance, despite difficult global macro environments, solidifies its spot as a core staples holding. BMO expects its earnings outperformance to continue to be supported by its broad-based growth, margin expansion opportunities and upside to cost savings target.

The stock was trading at $116.96. PepsiCo has a 52-week range of $98.50 to $118.12 and has a consensus target price of $122.10.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. (NYSE: DPS) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform with a $105 price target (versus a $92.29 close). The firm thought that while the company’s second consecutive quarter of softer-than-expected core performance is worrisome, it believes that the key enablers of its predictable earnings model remain in place: rational competitive landscape, benign commodities, plentiful cost savings and solid management team.

Shares of Dr Pepper Snapple traded at $92.84, with a consensus price target of $100.05 and a 52-week range of $81.05 to $99.47.