The Ratings Game: Bud Light sales are still falling, but investors get it at this point. Here’s what Morgan Stanley says they might be missing.

by | Jul 20, 2023 | Stock Market

But Light sales are still falling, as the impact of a boycott against the beer continues to stick. But Morgan Stanley analysts on Thursday said that impact was already reflected into shares of its parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, and that AB-InBev’s global footprint and the falling costs of beer ingredients would help sales and margins up ahead even if struggles in the U.S. spill over into next year. Morgan Stanley assumed coverage of AB-InBev
with an overweight rating, a step up from its prior equal-weight rating. The firm bumped its price target on the stock higher, to $68.50 from $64. Shares of AB-InBev were up 0.4% on Thursday.

The analysts also said that AB-InBev’s second-quarter results, set for Aug. 2, could be a clarifying moment for investors. “While investors are currently sitting on the sidelines, waiting for the company to fully quantify the impact of the Bud Light situation, we see upcoming H1 results as likely timing for such clarification,” the analysts said in a research note. “We think ABI shares now price in the U.S. Bud Light challenges, which have stabilised, but not the gross margin recovery and de-leveraging upside into next year,” they added later. The conservative-led boycott against Bud Light bega …

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