Kellogg shares rose over 8% on Thursday after the leading worldwide manufacturer and marketer of ready-to-eat cereals, reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue in the first quarter and lifted the fiscal year 2021 guidance.
The U.S. second-largest biscuit maker reported net sales rose over 5% to $3.58 billion in the quarter ended April 3, up from $3.41 billion seen in the same period a year ago. That was higher than the Wall Street consensus estimates of $3.38 billion.
The Battle Creek, Michigan-based company said its diluted earnings per share rose over 12% to $1.11, beating analysts’ expectations of $0.95 per share.
Kellogg forecasts sales growth to finish 2021 nearly flat year-on-year, an improvement from the previous expectations of about a 1% decline. Adjusted earnings per share is expected to increase by nearly 1% to 2%, up from the previous forecast of a 1% rise.
Following the upbeat results, Kellogg shares rose as high as 8% to $68.14 on Thursday. The stock rose over 8% so far this year.
“We expect a positive stock reaction to Kellogg’s large Q1 topline/profit/EPS beat, despite the cycling of solid topline growth in 1Q20, along with slightly raised FY21 guidance. While the magnitude of the FY21 raise was small (organic sales +100 bps, OP/EPS growth +50 bps), it was unexpected as there were concerns about lower or lower-quality FY guidance with commodity pressure,” noted Dara Mohsenian, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.
Kellogg Stock Price Forecast
Five analysts who offered stock ratings for Kellogg in the last three months forecast the average price in 12 months of $66.00 with a high forecast of $72.00 and a low forecast of $60.00.
The average price target represents a -2.73% decrease from the last price of $67.85. Of those five analysts, two rated “Buy”, three rated “Hold” while none rated “Sell”, according to Tipranks.
Morgan Stanley gave the base target price to $60 with a high of $71 under a bull scenario and $43 under the worst-case scenario. The firm gave an “Equal-weight” rating on the food manufacturing company’s stock.
Several other analysts have also updated their stock outlook. Kellogg had its price target cut by Deutsche Bank to $70 from $75. They currently have a buy rating on the stock. Citigroup reduced their price objective to $72 from $75. Jefferies Financial Group dropped their target price to $65 from $69 and set a hold rating. Piper Sandler lowered Kellogg from an overweight rating to a neutral rating and dropped their target price to $66 from $76.
Upside and Downside Risks
Risks to Upside: Higher US snacks growth on reinvestment/innovation, stabilized US cereal business with innovation and higher ad spend, higher-margin expansion on greater cost savings and moderate commodities – highlighted by Morgan Stanley.
Risks to Downside: Pricing pressure in the US (65% of sales) with retailer friction, COVID-related supply chain disruptions in 2020, lower operating profit growth on higher reinvestment needs and cost pressure.
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