Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO), and Hershey Co (NYSE:HSY) have all been in the news today and on various analysts’ radars. Susannah Lee summarized the news involving those companies on The Street’s “Analysts’ Actions” today, of which the news on The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) was of particular interest.
“Cowen and Company initiated coverage on Coca-Cola Company with a ‘market perform’ rating. The target price is set to $43. That’s pretty much in line with where the stock is currently trading. The title speaks for itself, but the firm’s report titled ‘Is Soda the New Cigarette?’ explains why Cowen is cautious with the stock,” Lee said.
So while the price target for The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) is slightly below its current rate, the negative connotations of the report certainly breed skepticism about what the company and its flagship product could be capable of in the future.
Not that it’s a new observation; sugar has increasingly come under attack as the real culprit behind the obesity epidemic that has plagued much of the developed world over the past decade. The World Health Organization has said sugar consumption needs to be cut drastically in Western societies, to as little as 5% of one’s total calorie consumption; or about half a can of Coca-Cola daily.
The war on sugar is not dampening enthusiasm for the Hershey Co (NYSE:HSY) however, as it was added to Citigroup’s “Focus List” yesterday, with the expectation that the company and stock are poised for a big finish to the year. Hershey Co (NYSE:HSY) is down 2.91% year-to-date, and more than 10% from their year-to-date closing high of $108.07 on February 24.
Citi expects both sales and margins to improve for the remainder of the year, including the important Halloween and holiday periods, after higher costs hampered both earlier this year. Hershey Co (NYSE:HSY) is up 1.91% so far today in afternoon trading, to $94.39. Citi has set a price target of $112 on Hershey Co (NYSE:HSY).
Lastly, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) was upgraded to an “outperform” rating by RBC, and the price target on their stock lifted to $54 from $47 on the strength of their software and shift to cloud and mobile computing. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) entered the day at $46.24, and is up 1.11% in afternoon trading.
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