Credit & Capital

J.P. Morgan Downgrades Starbucks to Neutral

The company’s rating was lowered after the stock climbed over 90% in the past 12 months.
J.P. Morgan Downgrades Starbucks to Neutral

J.P. Morgan lowered its rating on shares of Starbucks to neutral from overweight while saying the “upside from here is limited” since the stock has climbed more than 90% in the past 12 months.

In a note to clients, J.P. Morgan analyst John Ivankoe added that post-earnings gains have taken the company’s share price to “levels well above our $91 December 2020 price target.” He also removed Starbucks from J.P. Morgan’s “Analyst Focus List.”

Starbucks posted their biggest one day gain last week since November 2018, after shares climbed as much as 9% following the fiscal third-quarter earnings report.

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Last Thursday, Starbucks reported both earnings and revenues surpassed expectations in the fiscal third-quarter. Total revenues were at $6,823 million, outpacing the consensus estimate of $6,685 million and an increase of 8% from the year-ago level.

The strong performance was attributed to solid retail sales globally, comparable sales growth, streamlined initiatives, and the consolidation of businesses in East China.

Kevin Johnson, the company’s president and CEO reported that the third quarter was “very strong” and that excluding the impact of streamlined activities and foreign exchanges, “total revenues grew by 11% underpinned by a 7% expansion of our global store base, and global retail comp sales growth of 6% including comp traffic growth of 3%.”

“Our two targeted long-growth markets, the U.S. and China, performed extremely well across a number of measures as a result of our focus on enhancing the customer experience, driving new beverage innovation and accelerating the expansion of our digital customer relationships,” Johnson said. “Given the strong momentum across our business, we are raising our full-year financial outlook.”

Starbucks opened 442 new stores in the third quarter, totaling 30,626 stores at the end of the quarter, a 7% increase over the prior year. One-third of the new stores opened in China and 48 percent were in other international markets.

Roz Brewer, Starbucks chief operating officer, said the company is opening 600 stores in China this year, at a rate of one every 15 hours.

On Monday afternoon, Starbucks stock was trading at $98.31, down .80 cents. The stock opened at $98.05, with a high of $98.94 and a low of $97.21.

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