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Beyond Meat stock has finally earned the endorsement of a single bullish analyst

Heidi Chung

Beyond Meat (BYND) may be the hottest IPO to hit the market this year. While most Wall Street analysts are skeptical (maintaining Hold and Sell ratings), one analyst just turned bullish.

JPMorgan analyst Ken Goldman upgraded the alternative-meat company’s stock to Overweight from Neutral and raised his price target by one dollar to $189. Goldman’s new price target represents a more than 30% move higher from Monday’s closing price.

Goldman outlined three key reasons for his call. First, he believes that Beyond Meat will likely continue its momentum and aggressively partner with new foodservice companies and restaurants.

Just on Monday, Berlin-based meal-kit company HelloFresh announced that it would be adding Beyond Meat to its menus, and rival Blue Apron (APRN) also announced a partnership with Beyond earlier this year. In addition, two weeks ago, Subway revealed that it was testing Beyond meatball sandwiches in select markets. Beyond Meat also has a long list of partnerships with Dunkin’ (DNKN), Carl’s Jr., Del Taco (TACO), Tim Hortons (QSR), Kroger (KR), among a slew of others.

“Guidance only includes customers who are past the testing stage, which means that sales from burgers in Tim Hortons, sausage patties in Dunkin' Donuts, Aramark (announced last week), and Uno (also announced last week) are all excluded from the current outlook,” Goldman wrote in a note to clients Tuesday. “Looking ahead, we still expect one or two additional, large QSRs to begin testing with BYND by the end of the year, which also is not in guidance. We thus think the potential for sales to keep beating consensus estimates is legitimate.”

Second, Goldman argued that Nielsen data points to more strength ahead for Beyond.

“Over the last 13 weeks, BYND’s dollar takeaway in measured channels was +186% Y/Y, the highest in nearly three years (when the business in measured channels was around 8x smaller). We are encouraged that velocity – sales per distribution point – has been the primary driver of recent acceleration, as it suggests the products are catching on with consumers,” he said.

Lastly, valuation finally looks reasonable again, according to Goldman. After pricing its shares at $25, Beyond shares skyrocketed 859% and hit all-time highs of $239.71 per share on July 26. However, since then, Beyond stock has tumbled 40%.

Beyond shares tanked following its most recent earnings report, after management announced that it would provide a secondary offering. Nevertheless, Goldman does not think investors should be worried. “CEO Ethan Brown trimmed only a tiny portion of his holdings, and we cannot blame anyone involved pre-IPO for locking in some gains. With cash-on-hand likely to exceed $300MM by the end of 3Q, another guidance raise potentially ahead, and the stock ~40% off its high, we think the stock is appealing once again.”

“We downgraded the stock to Neutral on 6/11/19 after the stock had run up 69% in two days (SPX 2%). Since then, (a) fundamentals have improved (strong earnings and Nielsen trends), (b) new customers have been signed, (c) guidance was raised, and (d) the stock has come down significantly. In addition, interest rates have fallen, which all else equal helps our DCF-driven valuation. The difference between a risk-free rate of 2.5% and 1.5% in our model is $13 to fair value,” Goldman explained.

Goldman initiated coverage of Beyond Meat stock on May 28 with an Overweight rating and $97 price target. Since then, JPMorgan has fluctuated between Overweight and Neutral ratings on the stock. Goldman’s Overweight rating is the only bullish on Wall Street. There are currently 7 Holds and 1 Sell rating, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The average 12-month price target on Wall Street is $145.84.

Beyond Meat shares soared 7% during Tuesday’s session.

Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung.

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