These reports, excerpted and edited by Barron’s, were issued recently by investment and research firms. The reports are a sampling of analysts’ thinking; they should not be considered the views or recommendations of Barron’s. Some of the reports’ issuers have provided, or hope to provide, investment-banking or other services to the companies being analyzed.
Buy Price $61.08 on March 7
by Edward Jones
Coca-Cola is doing a solid job reinvigorating its core carbonated soda business, with new sugar-free offerings and smaller can sizes. It is a highly innovative company that is improving and expanding its offerings in energy and sports drinks. Coke continues to increase the number of markets for its smaller, faster-growing brands (e.g., Costa Coffee), while also looking for acquisition opportunities. It has a strong management team and an admirable long-term strategy. It is simplifying its internal operations, focusing more on digital marketing and big data, and has recently eliminated many small, slow-growing brands. This should help sales and profits. Coke has a strong presence in growing emerging markets, such as China. As people in emerging markets enter the middle class, they often spend more on prepackaged beverages. Coke does have a tax dispute with the IRS that could be material, but the outcome remains uncertain. Coke had less than 2% of its sales from Russia last year, but that does not change our outlook. [The company has suspended its operations there, in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.]
Fifth Third Bancorp
Outperform Price $44.74 on March 9
by RBC Capital Markets
Overall, the outlook for Fifth Third is positive, due to the positioning of its balance sheet for higher interest rates, growth opportunities in its loan portfolio, and strength in credit quality. The company has been a good…