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Coca Cola: Could re-franchising boost Q4?

NYSE:KO   COCA-COLA CO
By Andria Pichidi - February 14, 2019

The Coca-Cola Company is one of the top global key players in the beverage industry based and established in the USA since 1886. The firm is in charge of the manufacturing (by franchisees), retailing and marketing of nonalcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups.

The billion-dollar beverage giant ranked by Forbes as the World’s 3rd Largest Public Company for 2018 in the beverage industry after Anheuser-Busch InBev and PepsiCo , reports its quarterly earnings later today prior to the open of the New York trading session.

The shares have been in high demand following the December low at $45.64, closing yesterday at $49.67, just a breath below the 6-year peak area at $50.00-$50.77 area (9-week high and 6-year high). The rally from December 26 represents a gain of some 9%, while Coca Cola shares were marked as one of the best performing Dow stocks over the last year with a nearly 19.5% increase since 2018’s low price at $41.52.

Regarding today’s earnings report release for Q4 2018, the consensus recommendation is “buy”, according to a poll of analyst by Reuters, with 13 out of 24 analysts having a Buy recommendation for the stock (the rest a Hold recommendation) with a median target of around $51.50 and mean target at $52.02 as given by Thomson Reuters Eikon. (2018).

Coca Cola (NYSE:KO) is expected to have $0.49 in Earnings Per Share for Q4 according to Reuters which represents a nearly 25% since the reported EPS a year ago. The ZacksInvestment on the other hand suggests an EPS at $0.43, which represents a nearly 10% since the reported EPS a year ago. Meanwhile, QTR Revenue is expected to be released at $7.03 billion, which will end the fiscal year with $31.91 billion, based on Forbes forecasts.

The Coca Cola earning report for Q4 is expected to present growth for the company, as despite the world’s health concerns over soda consumption the last few years, the company is likely to continue benefiting from the introduction of a renovated Coke Zero into Coca Cola Zero Sugar during Q3 2017. The company faced an impressive increase of its revenue, due to the spike in sales of Zero Sugar .

Meanwhile, the deleverage is ready to innovate new flavors effective by February 25. As he company reported, they will offer Orange Vanilla Coke and Orange Vanilla Coke Zero Sugar in the US market. After over a decade, the company is offering a new flavor under its trademark Coca-Cola brand. Nevertheless, another factor that could positively affect the company’s earnings could be the large-scale re-franchising of the company’s bottling business, coupled with lower tax expense for the year, as Forbes stated.

Technically, the current Coke price action has posted a reversal of more than 76.4 % of the losses seen since November 2018. The price declined in 2018 due to consumer health concerns that reduced demand and a surge in production but also due to the $40 million reinvestment of cost savings in Australia.

This rebound from $45.20 lows in December, has turned the medium term outlook to a positive one. The stock is trading in the upper Bollinger Band pattern (weekly and daily) holding a floor above the 23.6% set since 2012 drift, for a 5th month in a row.

Immediate Resistance holds at the round $50.00 level, while a break of it, along with the increasingly improving Momentum indicators, suggests that there is plenty of underlying demand to protect the asset and to boost it to a 6-year high at $50.77.

In the daily chart , RSI has flattened at 60 area, while MACD lines have crossed higher indicating an increasing positive momentum in the near future. Immediate Support for the asset is set at $49.45 (last week’s peak). Next Support holds at $48.80, the 61.8% Fib. level.


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