Will Coca-Cola Pop in 2013?

As December comes to a close, 2013 is just around the corner, and it's a good time to look at the future prospects for the stocks you own. If you don't know where a company's headed in the next year and beyond, then it's impossible to make an informed decision about whether you should add the stock to your portfolio -- or sell it if you already own it.

Today, I'll look at Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  ) . Coca-Cola has been a member of the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) ever since 1932, and the soft-drink giant has had a reasonably successful 2012 despite seeing a contraction in net income. But can 2013 bring better days for Coke? Below, you'll see more about Coca-Cola's prospects for 2013.

Stats on Coca-Cola

Average Stock Target Price

$42.38

Full-Year 2012 EPS Estimate

$2.00

Full-Year 2013 EPS Estimate

$2.19

2012 Sales Growth Estimate

3.4%

2013 Sales Growth Estimate

5.2%

Forward P/E

16.8

Source: Yahoo Finance.

Will Coca-Cola bubble up in 2013?
Based on analyst target prices, Coke could see a 15% advance from current levels. To do so, though, the company will need to hold off its competitors and find new avenues for growth.

Coca-Cola's biggest asset is its brand, which ranks No. 1 in the world in brand value. That asset has been instrumental in holding off perennial also-ran PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP  ) and relegating tiny peers Dr Pepper Snapple (NYSE: DPS  ) and Monster Beverage (NASDAQ: MNST  ) to niche segments of the overall beverage market.

But even though Coca-Cola already leads the industry, that hasn't stopped it from setting some aggressive targets for growth. Coke has pegged its expansion goals in its "2020 Vision" program, whereby it hopes to double its sales by the end of the decade. The BRIC emerging nations and the Middle East are seen as high-growth opportunities; Coca-Cola has much lower per-capita consumption in those countries than it does in the mature U.S. market.

Still, Coca-Cola faces some threats. One area where Coke could face trouble is regulation. A ban of large sugar-containing soft drinks in New York could be the beginning of a wave of actions aimed at curbing obesity. Although Coke joined its peers in displaying calorie counts on vending machines, it's unclear whether that'll be enough to appease regulators going forward. In addition, self-serve, at-home soda-makers by SodaStream (NASDAQ: SODA  ) have the potential to take business from Coke and other traditional beverage-sellers. Coca-Cola has already had to address some SodaStream ad campaigns aimed at highlighting the epidemic of plastic bottles in landfills.

All in all, Coca-Cola has a strong chance of giving investors more of the gains they want in 2013. Much will depend on the state of the global economy and how it affects Coke's international growth strategy.

Learn more
Go beyond this brief look at Coca-Cola to find out everything you need to know about the beverage giant's plans for 2013 and beyond. Our premium research report on the stock will give you our stock analyst's views on whether Coke shares are a buy, with details on the opportunities and challenges the company faces. Don't wait -- click here now and get started!

Click here to add Coca-Cola to My Watchlist, which can find all of our Foolish analysis on it and all your other stocks.


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