The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Monster Beverage, PepsiCo, Coca Cola, Ford Motor and Toyota Motor

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Monster Beverage, PepsiCo, Coca Cola, Ford
                            Motor and Toyota Motor

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Aug. 15, 2013

CHICAGO, Aug. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Zacks.com announces the list of stocks
featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts
discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets.
Stocks recently featured in the blog include Monster Beverage
(Nasdaq:MNST--Free Report), PepsiCo, Inc(NYSE:PEP--Free Report), The Coca
Cola Company(NYSE:KO--Free Report), Ford Motor Co.(NYSE:F--Free Report) and
Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE:TM--Free Report).

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101027/ZIRLOGO)

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of
the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

Monster Misses Q2 Earnings Estimates; Revs

Monster Beverage's (Nasdaq:MNST--Free Report) second quarter 2013 adjusted
earnings of 62 cents per share missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of earnings
by 3%. However, earnings increased 4.6% year over year due to a mid-single
digit increase in top line.

During the quarter, Monster Beverage's net sales rose 6.5% year over year to
$630.9 million. However, net sales also missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of
$643 million by 1.0% due to soft sales in its energy drinks, particularly the
Monster Energy brand. Monster Beverage like other beverage giants,PepsiCo,
Inc(NYSE:PEP--Free Report) andThe Coca Cola Company(NYSE:KO--Free Report)
are seeing sluggish sales due to changing consumer preferences and increasing
health consciousness.

Gross profit increased 9.0% in the quarter to $336.3 million. Gross margin
grew 150 basis points to 53.3% on the back of a favorable mix. A significant
percentage of sales were from high margin brands like Ultra Zero, Ultra Blue
and Rehab Pink Lemonade.

Operating income rose 5.7% to $179.4 million in the quarter. Operating margin
declined 20 basis points in the quarter, due to increase in litigation
expenses and unfavorable foreign transactions.

Monster Beverage had cash and cash equivalents of $283.8 million as of Jun 30,
2013, compared to $222.5 million as of Dec 31, 2012. The board of directors
authorized a new share repurchase program worth $200 million of outstanding
common stock in the quarter.

Monster Beverage carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Ford's Focus Tops Global Sales in Q1

Ford Motor Co.(NYSE:F--Free Report) announced that its compact car Focus
continued to remain the top selling brand in the first quarter of 2013,
retaining the crown it received in 2012. Quoting global vehicle registration
data from Polk, the car maker revealed that the global retail registrations of
Focus surged 18% year over year in the first quarter of 2013. The data for the
second quarter was not provided by the company.

As per Ford, Focus recorded 288,724 new registrations in the first quarter of
2013, buoyed by the demand in China and Brazil. China alone contributed about
36% of the registrations, recording a 153% increase over the first quarter of
2012. Meanwhile, Brazil witnessed an 18% increase in Focus registrations.

The increasing demand has led Ford to increase its Focus manufacturing
capacity to 2 cars per minute, which implies 1.5 million Focus vehicles per
annum. To achieve this, the company started manufacturing Focus in its plant
in Pacheco, Argentina. This takes the tally of global Focus manufacturing
facilities to 9, including the plants in the United States, China, Thailand,
Vietnam, Taiwan, Russia and Germany.

However, the data provided by Ford does not consider the derivative cars of
rivalToyota Motor Corporation's (NYSE:TM--Free Report) Corolla, such as
Matrix, Auris (sold in Europe) and Verso (sold in Japan). Toyota claims that
this omission has reduced the registration of Corolla by 300,000 in 2012.
After including the registrations of Auris and Verso, Corolla manages to
snatch the crown of the best-selling brand in 2012 from Ford's Focus.

Moreover, Toyota is set to launch a new version of Corolla next month. The new
version has improved styling, aimed at beating Ford, which currently has more
stylish products.

Ford currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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the Day pick for free.

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