Coca-Cola Company (The) (KO) Rating Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Coca-Cola Company (The) (NYSE:KO) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Coca-Cola reported better-than-expected third-quarter 2017 results. Lower SG&A expense (down 20%), higher gross margin (up 170 basis points or bps), and higher operating margin (up 404 bps) helped it come up with better numbers. Organic revenues were up 4%, driven by 3% growth in price/mix and concentrate sales growth of 1%. However, Coca-Cola's total sales decreased 15%, marking the 10th consecutive quarterly decline in revenues. Although top line needs to show sustained improvement, we are encouraged by the company’s strategic efforts in making its portfolio as a total beverage company with improved marketing and innovation, focus on driving revenues by improved price/mix, digital focus, and productivity initiatives toward driving margins. Further, solid performance of Coke Zero Sugar globally (growing high single digit) is quite encouraging.”

Several other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports on the stock. Sanford C. Bernstein set a $49.00 price objective on shares of Coca-Cola Company (The) and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 11th. Vetr upgraded shares of Coca-Cola Company (The) from a sell rating to a strong-buy rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 12th. Royal Bank Of Canada reiterated a buy rating and set a $49.00 price objective on shares of Coca-Cola Company (The) in a research report on Wednesday, September 6th. BidaskClub cut shares of Coca-Cola Company (The) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Saturday, July 1st. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a hold rating and set a $47.00 price objective on shares of Coca-Cola Company (The) in a research report on Thursday, September 7th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have given a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company. Coca-Cola Company (The) has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $47.16.

Coca-Cola Company (NYSE KO) traded down 0.488% during mid-day trading on Thursday, reaching $45.845. 4,651,357 shares of the company were exchanged. Coca-Cola Company has a one year low of $39.88 and a one year high of $46.98. The stock has a market capitalization of $195.54 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 48.411 and a beta of 0.70. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $45.91 and a 200-day moving average of $45.10.

Coca-Cola Company (The) (NYSE:KO) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 25th. The company reported $0.50 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.49 by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $9.08 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $8.73 billion. Coca-Cola Company (The) had a net margin of 12.20% and a return on equity of 36.21%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 14.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.49 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts expect that Coca-Cola Company will post $1.89 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 1st will be paid a dividend of $0.37 per share. This represents a $1.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.21%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, November 30th. Coca-Cola Company (The)’s dividend payout ratio is currently 140.95%.

In other news, insider Robert Edward Long sold 26,470 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, August 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $45.88, for a total transaction of $1,214,443.60. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 45,393 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,082,630.84. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider J Alexander Douglas, Jr. sold 180,738 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $45.99, for a total transaction of $8,312,140.62. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 315,606 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $14,514,719.94. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 324,979 shares of company stock valued at $14,948,552 over the last three months. Insiders own 1.51% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. North American Management Corp boosted its stake in shares of Coca-Cola Company (The) by 10.3% during the second quarter. North American Management Corp now owns 6,435 shares of the company’s stock valued at $289,000 after purchasing an additional 600 shares during the period. Shell Asset Management Co. boosted its stake in shares of Coca-Cola Company (The) by 0.5% during the first quarter. Shell Asset Management Co. now owns 876,901 shares of the company’s stock valued at $37,216,000 after purchasing an additional 4,101 shares during the period. Montecito Bank & Trust boosted its stake in shares of Coca-Cola Company (The) by 90.2% during the first quarter. Montecito Bank & Trust now owns 127,096 shares of the company’s stock valued at $5,394,000 after purchasing an additional 60,258 shares during the period. BB&T Corp boosted its stake in shares of Coca-Cola Company (The) by 9.5% during the second quarter. BB&T Corp now owns 913,715 shares of the company’s stock valued at $40,980,000 after purchasing an additional 78,932 shares during the period. Finally, Summit Financial Group Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Coca-Cola Company (The) during the second quarter valued at $2,779,000. 64.62% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Coca-Cola Company (The) Company Profile

The Coca-Cola Company is a beverage company. The Company owns or licenses and markets non-alcoholic beverage brands, primarily sparkling beverages and a range of still beverages, such as waters, flavored waters and enhanced waters, juices and juice drinks, ready-to-drink teas and coffees, sports drinks, dairy and energy drinks.

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