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Beyond Meat Cut to Sell at UBS After Stock Price Surges

UBS analyst Steven Strycula cut his rating on Beyond Meat shares to sell, saying the price surge amid the pandemic was overdone.
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UBS analyst Steven Strycula cut his rating on the shares of Beyond Meat  (BYND)  to sell from neutral, saying the maker of plant-based meat substitutes has soared to overvalued levels. 

The analyst cut his share-price target to $73 from $90.

The stock has doubled since March 18, as the coronavirus led major meat-processing plants to close, threatening the country’s meat supply. 

And the shares are up again on Monday: The stock at last check stood at $113.57, up 4.4%. It has jumped 44% year to date, compared with a 13% drop for the S&P 500.

The stock’s surge from its March low has made it the best performer in his coverage universe so far this year, Strycula wrote in a report cited by Bloomberg.

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But that dynamic comes despite Beyond Meat having “the greatest channel risk exposure to food service,” which makes up 51% of the El Segundo, Calif., company’s revenue.

Many restaurants and other institutional food servers have been shuttered due to the coronavirus.

The stock price already accounts for the “full economic benefit of U.S. partnerships with McDonald’s  (MCD) and Starbucks,  (SBUX) but does not reflect risk from reduced restaurant traffic, consumer trade down (a BYND patty is two times the price of regular patty) or increased [consumer packaged goods] competition,” Strycula said.

He lowered his 2020 total net sales forecast by 6% to $471.4 million, taking into consideration a likely 24% drop for the restaurant/foodservice segment and a 17% increase for the retail segment. 

Strycula reduced his 2021 sales estimate 8% to $694.8 million.