Monster Beverage (NASDAQ:MNST) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday. The brokerage currently has a $64.00 price objective on the stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective indicates a potential upside of 14.74% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Monster Beverage surpassed the industry in the past three months, driven by solid momentum in energy drinks business amid a challenging industry backdrop. The company is also optimistic about its alliance with Coca-Cola’s bottlers globally, which broadened its distribution network. Moreover, the company’s top and bottom lines outpaced estimates and improved year over year in third-quarter 2018. This marked its second straight earnings beat, while sales reverted to positive surprise trend after three consecutive misses. The top line benefited from solid sales at Monster Energy Drinks segment and advance purchases made by customers due to a pre-announced price hike. However, sales were adversely impacted by foreign currency translations. Moreover, increased raw material costs are persistently hurting margins, which is likely to continue in quarters ahead. Nevertheless, robust performance at its brands in 2018 is commendable.”

Several other brokerages have also weighed in on MNST. BidaskClub raised Monster Beverage from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, August 17th. Jefferies Financial Group lifted their price objective on Monster Beverage from $70.00 to $71.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, August 9th. Citigroup lifted their price objective on Monster Beverage from $62.00 to $71.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, August 10th. Guggenheim began coverage on Monster Beverage in a report on Thursday, September 13th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $72.00 price objective for the company. Finally, BMO Capital Markets lifted their price objective on Monster Beverage from $68.00 to $70.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Thursday, July 19th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating, eleven have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. Monster Beverage has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $63.38.

Shares of Monster Beverage stock opened at $55.78 on Wednesday. Monster Beverage has a 1 year low of $47.61 and a 1 year high of $70.21. The firm has a market cap of $31.43 billion, a PE ratio of 38.21, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.02 and a beta of 1.36.

Monster Beverage (NASDAQ:MNST) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, November 7th. The company reported $0.50 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.46 by $0.04. Monster Beverage had a return on equity of 25.47% and a net margin of 25.86%. The firm had revenue of $1.02 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $988.73 million. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.40 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 11.7% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, sell-side analysts predict that Monster Beverage will post 1.76 earnings per share for the current year.

Monster Beverage declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase program on Wednesday, August 8th that authorizes the company to repurchase $500.00 million in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to buy up to 1.5% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are generally an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

In other Monster Beverage news, insider Emelie Tirre sold 17,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $60.91, for a total value of $1,035,470.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 46,847 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,853,450.77. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 9.70% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of MNST. Harvest Fund Management Co. Ltd boosted its stake in Monster Beverage by 287.0% in the 3rd quarter. Harvest Fund Management Co. Ltd now owns 1,900 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after purchasing an additional 1,409 shares during the period. Integrated Investment Consultants LLC bought a new position in Monster Beverage in the 2nd quarter worth about $123,000. Honkamp Krueger Financial Services Inc. bought a new position in Monster Beverage in the 3rd quarter worth about $129,000. Exane Derivatives boosted its stake in Monster Beverage by 7,740.0% in the 2nd quarter. Exane Derivatives now owns 2,352 shares of the company’s stock worth $134,000 after purchasing an additional 2,322 shares during the period. Finally, Qube Research & Technologies Ltd bought a new position in Monster Beverage in the 2nd quarter worth about $175,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 64.76% of the company’s stock.

About Monster Beverage

Monster Beverage Corporation, through its subsidiaries, develops, markets, sells, and distributes energy drink beverages, soda, and its concentrates in the United States and internationally. It operates through three segments: Monster Energy Drinks, Strategic Brands, and Other. The company offers ready-to-drink packaged drinks, non-carbonated dairy based coffee and energy drinks, and non-carbonated energy shakes primarily to bottlers and full service beverage distributors, as well as sells directly to retail grocery and specialty chains, wholesalers, club stores, drug stores, mass merchandisers, convenience chains, food service customers, and the military; and concentrates and/or beverage bases to authorized bottling and canning operations; and ready-to-drink packaged energy drinks to bottlers and full service beverage distributors.

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