The food products company's stock was upgraded to overweight from neutral by JPMorgan analysts on Monday. The analysts gave the stock a $45 price target.
"For 1Q12 (to be reported this Thursday), we are $0.03 above the Street, and for the year we are $0.05 above," JPMorgan analysts wrote in a report Monday. "Besides our optimism about fundamentals, we also think Kraft will push hard to drive strong earnings into one of the most important investor events in its history: the pending separation of GroceryCo and SnackCo, scheduled for 4Q12. Speaking of the split, we think it is possible that event-driven investors gain interest in KFT as the separation - scheduled for 4Q12 - approaches."Shares of Kraft hit a 52-week high Monday of $39.88. The stock's 52-week low of $31.88 was set on Oct. 4. Kraft trades at an estimated price-to-earnings ratio for next year of 14.2 times; the average for food products companies is 17.55. For comparison, ConAgra (CAG) has a lower forward P/E of 13.45. Sixteen of the 21 analysts who cover Kraft Foods rated it buy. Four analysts gave the stock a hold rating and one rated it sell. The stock has risen 6.64% year to date.
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