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UBS Upgrades Coca-Cola to Buy

UBS Financial upgrades Coca-Cola (KO) to buy from neutral.

Analyst Kaumil Gajrawala believes a turnaround is happening now, and expects acceleration in sales growth to lead to multiple expansion, similar to 1994. He expects upside to be driven by the compounding effect of heavy marketing and better execution.

He believes investors are under-appreciating the impact of $400 million of incremental marketing/innovation, which is almost entirely second-half-loaded, even though it has shown up in the first half on GAAP financials. Moreover, he believes a stronger bottling network is freeing up funding for Coca-Cola to increase brand marketing over promotional funding.

He set a $53 price target on the stock.

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