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Ethan Brown, centre, CEO of Beyond Meat, attends the company's May IPO at the Nasdaq in New York.

Mark Lennihan/The Associated Press

Shares of Beyond Meat Inc. fell as much as 22 per cent on Tuesday after one of the stock’s lead underwriters, JPMorgan, downgraded it, saying the exponential growth expected from the plant-based burger was now priced in.

Beyond Meat has surged over 69 per cent in two days since it forecast overall sales in 2019 to more than double.

JPMorgan analyst Ken Goldman cut the stock rating to “neutral” from “overweight” and said it was “purely a valuation call.”

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The stock, which has quadrupled in value since debut in May, is “beyond our price target,” he said.

Shares of the company were down 19.8 per cent at US$134.9 in midday trading, but still well above every Wall Street analysts’ price target on the stock.

Mr. Goldman raised price target for the second time in three days to US$121, after raising it by US$23 last Friday on the upbeat forecast.

Beyond Meat’s projections also prompted at least three brokerages, including JPMorgan’s Mr. Goldman, to raise their price targets.

Mr. Goldman last week wrote that “at some point, the extraordinary revenue and profit potential embedded in Beyond Meat… will be priced in.”

“We think this day has arrived,” his latest note said.

Separately, Beyond Meat said on Tuesday it would start selling a new version of its flagship vegan burgers, which look and cook more like traditional beef, as it battles for space in the meat section of U.S. grocery stores.

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The launch of its meatier burger comes as it prepares to compete against new launches from Nestle, Tyson Foods Inc. and Impossible Foods.

The new burgers imitate the marbling effect, or the streaks of fat, seen in red meat, and also have a texture that mimics the chewiness and juiciness of beef.

The California-based company has been focused on getting more meat eaters to pick up its products, saying they are more sustainable and better for the environment.

The new burgers are made with blended pea, mung bean and rice proteins that give a more fibrous texture, compared to the company’s previous recipe which included pea protein, coconut and canola oil.

This content appears as provided to The Globe by the originating wire service. It has not been edited by Globe staff.

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