Coca-Cola Stock: Is Now the Time to Buy?

Coca-Cola reported an 8% increase in third-quarter earnings amid solid volume growth.
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(Coca-Cola Company earnings story updated with analyst commentary and stock price change)
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Coca-Cola (KO) - Get Report reported an increase in third-quarter earnings amid solid volume growth and concentrate increase.

The company said net income attributable to shareowners of the Coca-Cola Co. increased by 8% to $2.055 billion, or 88 cents a share, from $1.896 billion, or 81 cents, a year earlier.

Shares of Coca-Cola are slightly lower by 0.2% to $59.88.

Net operating revenue rose by 5% to $8.426 billion from $8.044 billion as volume increased 5% in the quarter, and was especially pronounced in the international markets.

Still, Stifel Nicolaus anlayst Mark Swartzberg noted in an equity research report that "Mexico, which was flat in the quarter, is our number one area of focus or concern as a laggard in the company's larger track record of growth. He also noted that the quarter included a 7% concentrate increase that "drives revenue -- compared to a unit volume increase of 5% -- reflects demand -- implying third-quarter EPS benefited from the concentrate increase."

Overall Swartzberg continued to view Coca-Cola shares as attractive.

On average, analysts were expecting earnings of 89 cents on revenue of $8.3 billion.

There were no share repurchases during the first three quarters of the year due to Coca-Cola's bottling transaction with

Coca-Cola Enterprises

(CCE)

, which was completed after the close of the third quarter.

Coca-Cola expects to repurchase about $2 billion in shares by the end of the year.

Barclays Capital's Michael Branca told investors in a note that he thinks the earnings results were a "clear positive for" Coca-Coal. "We would expect the stock to very quickly march up to the top of our $58 to $64 trading range," he said.

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-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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