Despite trading at 52-week highs, the shares are expected to pop on the earnings report expected before the open Tuesday as the company continues to innovate to offset declining soda sales. The company's volumes begun to improve and its various cost-saving initiatives are creating higher profits margins.
For the quarter that ended in December, analysts, on average, expect Coca-Cola to earn 37 cents a share on revenue of $9.89 billion, compared to the year-ago quarter when the company earned 44 cents a share on $10.9 billion in revenue. For the full year, earnings are projected to decline 2.4% year over year to $1.99 a share, while revenue of $44.37 billion would mark a drop of 3.6% from the period a year ago.
Revenue and profits have been hard to come by for the beverage giant. But Coca-Cola -- whose shares trade at close to $43, down less than 1% so far this year and up 3% for the past 52 weeks -- has been a relative outperformer so far in 2016.
The stock doesn't scream bargain today, priced at a forward price to earnings multiple of 21 compared to a P/E of 17 for the S&P 500 index. But Coca-Cola is projected to return to earnings growth, based on fiscal 2016 estimates of $2.04 a share. The Atlanta-based company has beaten Wall Street's earnings estimates in four straight quarters.
To offset slumping soda sales driven by concerns about artificial sweeteners and rising obesity rates, Coca-Cola continues to innovative. Its recent partnership with Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR) , creating a "Kold" machine that allows consumers to make their own beverages at home, is one way the company is looking for branch out. There is also its global distribution arrangement with Monster Beverage (MNST) - Get Monster Beverage Corporation Report .
Also, analysts expect meaningful benefits to Coca-Cola's revenue and earnings in the next 12 months. The stock has a consensus buy rating and its average analyst 12-month price target of $47 suggests some 10% gains from current levels. Assuming the stock reaches its high target of $54, the implied premium is more than 25%, making the stock a solid bargain ahead of earnings.
Add in its solid 33-cents quarterly dividend that yields 3.10% annually and Coca-Cola can still satisfy.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.