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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Coca-Cola, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Dr Pepper Snapple, Monster Beverage, WhiteWave Foods and Dean Foods

CHICAGO, Feb. 20, 2014 /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 the Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO-Free Report), Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (Nasdaq:GMCR-Free Report), Dr Pepper Snapple (NYSE:DPS-Free Report), Monster Beverage (Nasdaq:MNST-Free Report), WhiteWave Foods (NYSE:WWAV-Free Report) and Dean Foods Company (NYSE:DF-Free Report).

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

Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

3 Stock Flavors for Changing Tastes

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO-Free Report) yesterday reported adjusted earnings of 46 cents per share, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. This was also 2% higher than the year-ago figure. However, revenues missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate and markets reacted negatively. Shares of Coca-Cola closed the day 3.8% lower.

The Numbers

Net revenue declined 4% year over year to $11.04 billion and also missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $11.3 billion. Currency and structural changes were major reasons for this decline. These factors impacted revenues by 2% and 5%, respectively.

The major structural changes the company underwent during this period were a bottler merger in Brazil and the sale of 51% stake in Philippines bottling operations. In fact, excluding the impact of these factors, constant currency revenues increased 4% in the quarter.

Market Challenges

The company's numbers are an indication of the wider issue of slowing beverage sales in the U.S. Coke experienced 1% volume growth in the reported quarter, lower than 2% in the previous quarter. Volumes declined 1% in North America due to softer volume trends of sparkling beverages.

Consumer preferences are changing because of greater awareness about health issues such as rising obesity. This is why concerns about the company's future performance prevail. Coke has been unable to match estimates on EBITDA for four out of five quarters. The score is three out of five in case of revenues.

Company Initiatives

The company announced plans to expand its productivity and reinvestment program to generate $1 billion in productivity savings by 2016. These savings will be used toward brand building through increased media investments, thereby boosting long-term profitability.

The company is also looking to revive the business through increased marketing investments and package and product innovation. Another step in the direction is Coca-Cola's latest deal with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (Nasdaq:GMCR-Free Report).

Below we present three other beverage makers which may better suit changing consumer tastes, each of which also has a good Zacks Rank.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc.

Dr Pepper Snapple (NYSE:DPS-Free Report) owns iconic brands like Dr Pepper, 7UP, Mott's, Snapple and Canada Dry. It manufactures and distributes its products across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Last week, the company said it would begin evaluating natural flavored sodas.

These would use stevia and real sugar as sweeteners. This is a clear indication that the company is responding to consumer concerns and exploring healthier alternatives.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and expects earnings growth of 9.70%. The forward price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) for the current financial year (F1) is 14.83.

Monster Beverage Corporation

Monster Beverage (Nasdaq:MNST-Free Report) offers a wide range of products under energy drinks, juice based and soda beverages categories. The company offers beverages under brands such as Monster Energy, Java Monster, X- Presso Monster, Worx Energy, Peace Tea, Blue Sky, Hubert's, Vidration and Monster Rehab.

With the energy drink market gaining momentum, Monster Beverage has huge potential in the near future. Currently the company holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and expects earnings growth of 19.3%. It has a P/E (F1) of 29.83.

The WhiteWave Foods Company                        

Our third choice is WhiteWave Foods (NYSE:WWAV-Free Report). Some of its iconic brands available in North America include Land O'Lakes coffee creamers and drinks, International Delight and plant-based products called Silk.  Alpro and Provamel are prominent names amongst its European plant-based food and beverage offerings.

The company was earlier a subsidiary of Dean Foods Company (NYSE:DF-Free Report) before being hived off last year. Apart from a Zacks Rank #2, The WhiteWave Foods Company expects earnings growth of 27.80%. It has a P/E (F1) of 29.37.

One cannot ignore that Coke remains an iconic brand and continues to provide considerable shareholder wealth. However, as discussed earlier, these three choices may be better suited to cater to changing consumer tastes and would make good additions to your portfolio.

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

About Zacks Equity Research

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Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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