Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) is scheduled to release its third-quarter financial results before the markets open on Friday. The consensus estimates are calling for $0.56 in earnings per share (EPS) and $9.45 billion in revenue. The same period of last year reportedly had $0.57 in EPS and $8.26 billion in revenue.
This firm has raised its dividend for 57 consecutive years. Coca-Cola has been diversifying away from its core sugar-water drinks into sports beverages, coffee and tea. Its shares finally have broken above that $45 to $50 barrier that had been in place. The business is also deemed to be a defensive name that can withstand any sort of economic slowdown, even if colas and other beverages may slow down in a recession.
However, Coca-Cola has had to overcome that image of just selling sugar-water beverages that were bad for you. Buffett may drink a Coke per day and may be the largest shareholder via Berkshire Hathaway, but many groups still view Coca-Cola as one of the few top targets in the war on diabetes and obesity.
Overall, Coca-Cola has underperformed the broad markets, with its stock up 13% year to date. In the past 52 weeks, the stock is actually up 19%.
A few analysts weighed in on Coca-Cola ahead of the results:
- Morgan Stanley has a Buy rating with a $60 price target.
- Atlantic Securities rates it as Overweight with a $62 target.
- HSBC has a Neutral rating with a $52 price target.
- BMO Capital Markets rates it as Market Perform with a $52 target.
- JPMorgan has a Neutral rating with a $59 target price.
- Merrill Lynch has a Buy rating and a $60 target price.
- Credit Suisse’s Neutral rating comes with a $54 price target.
Shares of Coca-Cola traded at $53.72 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $44.42 to $55.92. The consensus price target is $57.48.