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Coca-Cola's stock climbs to pace Dow gainers after Morgan Stanley turns bullish

Tomi Kilgore

Shares of Coca-Cola Co. climbed 2.1% in morning trade, enough to pace the Dow Jones Industrial Average's gainers, after Morgan Stanley upgraded the beverage giant, citing valuation. Analyst Dara Mohsenian raised his rating to overweight from equal weight, and boosted his price target to $55 from $52, saying he believes the company has morphed into a structurally higher sales growth company relative to its consumer packaged goods (CPG) peers. Mohsenian said that "surprisingly, and despite clear historical proof," that this is not being recognized in valuation, at what he sees as an "unfair discount to peers." That has provided a "compelling buying opportunity" for investors, Mohsenian said. The stock has gained 3.6% year to date, while the SPDR Consumer Staples Select Sector ETF has rallied 12.5% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has advanced 9.1%.