Why Analysts Are More Bullish About Pepsi After Earnings

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PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE: PEP) reported second-quarter 2016 results before markets opened Thursday. Overall the stock’s response was fairly positive and attracted the attention of a few analysts.

24/7 Wall St. has included some highlights from the earnings report, as well as what analysts are saying after the fact.

The snack food and beverage company posted core earnings per share (EPS) of $1.35 on revenues of $15.4 billion. The Thomson Reuters consensus estimates had called for $1.30 EPS and $15.37 billion in revenues for the quarter. In the same period last year, the company reported EPS of $1.32 on revenues of $15.92 billion.

For 2016 full year, Pepsi now expects to have EPS growth of 9%, up from the previous forecast of 8%. Core EPS are forecast at $4.71, one cent higher than the prior report. The consensus estimate had called for 2016 EPS of $4.73. Pepsi continues to expect a negative impact of around 4% on adjusted EPS due to currency exchange transactions and 2% due to Venezuelan deconsolidation.

The company also expects organic revenue to grow by 4% this year. Free cash flow is targeted at over $7 billion on operating cash flow of more than $10 billion, and capital spending is forecast at $3 billion for the year. These estimates are unchanged.

Pepsi plans to pay out about $4 billion in dividends this year ($3.01 annual rate) and buy back about $3 billion in stock.

Merrill Lynch maintained a Buy rating and raised its price target to $115 from $112. The brokerage firm detailed in its report:

Pepsi is successfully balancing the need to reduce costs via productivity programs and reinvesting a portion of the savings to sustain solid sales growth. Our price objective of $115 is based on a target multiple of 22.2x our 2017E EPS of $5.16, which represents a premium to DPS but a moderate discount to KO. In our view, this valuation is reasonable, given the company’s exposure to high-value categories (soft drinks/snacks) and attractive growth opportunities outside of the US.

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A few other analysts weighed in on Pepsi after the earnings report:

  • Susquehanna raised its price target to $114 from $113.
  • Deutsche Bank has a Buy rating and raised its target to $120 from $115.
  • Goldman Sachs raised its price target to $111 from $104.
  • UBS has a Buy rating and raised its price target to $119 from $113.
  • Jefferies reiterated a Buy rating and raised its target to $124 from $119.

Shares of Pepsi ended last week at $108.27, with a consensus analyst price target of $113.78 and a 52-week trading range of $76.48 to $109.00.