singing its praises, analyst
Marc I. Cohen does see some upside potential from the stock's current position.
In a research note put out this morning, ahead of a scheduled update from the company later in the week, the
analyst upgraded shares of Coke from market outperform and put them on the firm's U.S. recommended for purchase list. Along with the upgrade, Cohen raised his price target on the stock to a "low to mid-$50" range, but he did trim his earnings expectation for fiscal 2001 to $1.58 a share and his forecast for 2002 to $1.80 a share.
"KO's share price has deteriorated by nearly 15% in the past few weeks as investor concerns increased about: (a) the strength of the U.S. dollar and (b) a weakening global macroeconomic outlook (particularly in South America)," wrote Cohen. Shares of Coke have slipped 12.7% since May 24 and have fallen 29.7% for the year to date.
While cautioning that "this is not a moment where we believe that investors necessarily need to become very aggressive with the name," Cohen said, "the time has come to take a more constructive stance toward KO shares." Cohen recommended building positions in the low-$40s range, as he expects the stock to be "54 or higher by this time next year." Shares of Coke closed at $42.85 on Friday.
Cohen had pulled Coke from the recommended list and gave the stock a market outperform rating on Feb. 21.