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Beyond Meat Shares Leap on Buy-the-Dip 'Double Upgrade' From Bernstein

Bernstein analyst Alexia Howard sees the potential for a significant increase in food service sales for Beyond Meat amid a 'double upgrade' of the plant-based food group.

Beyond Meat  (BYND) - Get Beyond Meat, Inc. Report shares jumped higher Monday after analysts at Bernstein lifted their rating on the plant-based foodmaker to "outperform" ahead of what it sees as a 'significant' increase in restaurant sales powered by state re-openings around the country. 

Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Alexia Howard lifting her rating on the stock two notches, and pegged it with a $130 price target, citing improved near-term prospects in the waning months of the coronavirus pandemic. Howard said food service sales should rebound "significantly", thanks in part to Beyond Meat's recent partnerships with McDonald's  (MCD) - Get McDonald's Corporation (MCD) Report, Yum Brands  (YUM) - Get Yum! Brands, Inc. (YUM) Report and PepsiCo.  (PEP) - Get PepsiCo, Inc. Report, calling the stock a 'buy-the-dip' candidate in the broader U.S. re-opening.

Beyond Meat shares were marked 8.4% higher in early trading Monday to change hands at $115.60 each, a move that would trim the stock's year-to-date decline to around 7.5%. 

Earlier this month, Beyond Meat posted a wider-than-expected first quarter loss of 42 cents per shares as expenses piled up and restaurant sales slowed in the waning months of the coronavirus pandemic.

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U.S. foodservice sales fell 26% to $16.7 million, Beyond Meat said, and 44% to $10.4 million internationally. U.S. retail sales rose 27.8% to $63.8 million, while international retail sales jumped 189% to $17.2 million.

Current quarter sales were forecast between $135 million and $150 million, a 32% increase from last year's levels at the higher end of the range, but the group said it was unable to provide full-year guidance with "reasonable certainty" given the economy's current pandemic conditions.