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Investment Ideas Beyond Meat top choice for Wall Street after bullish results

Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown, center, watches as his company's stock begins to trade following its IPO at Nasdaq in New York on May 2.

Mark Lennihan/The Associated Press

Shares of Beyond Meat Inc. surged 27 per cent on Friday after the vegan burger maker forecast that sales would more than double over all in 2019 after they tripled in the first quarter.

Expectations were high heading into Beyond Meat’s report on Thursday, with its shares having jumped about 400 per cent since its initial public offering a month ago. The better-than-expected results and forecast led the stock to soar nearly 21 per cent in extended trade on Thursday.

At least three brokerages raised their price targets, with Credit Suisse being the most bullish, upping its target by US$55 to US$125. The Street’s median is US$96.

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The company is now set to be worth a whopping US$7.36-billion, if current gains hold, after having started out with a US$2.75-billion valuation on debut.

Beyond Meat expects 2019 revenue to more than double to US$210-million. Chief executive officer Ethan Brown, on a postearnings conference call with analysts, said the forecast was “very conservative” and views it “as a floor.”

Its forecast did not include the current trials Beyond Meat is undertaking with fast-food chains such as Canada’s Tim Hortons Inc., Del Taco and Carl’s Jr. “Post-trial adoption would offer upside to guidance,” Jefferies’ Kevin Grundy said. He also upped the price target to US$105 from US$85.

With McDonald’s and Yum Brands’ KFC restaurants likely to test plant-based meat products this year, the Beyond Meat’s revenue outlook is highly likely to tick higher.

“We now expect US$750-million of sales to McDonald’s alone by 2030,” Credit Suisse’s Robert Moskow said.

Beyond Meat’s imitation meat patties and sausages are made from ingredients such as pea protein, coconut and canola oil. While a great alternative for consumers conscious of the environment, the company still needs to put in the work to get more takers as its products cost much more than beef burgers.

“When skeptical investors ask how Beyond Meat plans on attacking approaching competition, we think they may overlook the flexibility the company has to invest in price,” J.P. Morgan analyst Ken Goldman said.

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Mr. Goldman raised his price target to US$120 from US$97.

Six out of eight brokerages have a “hold” rating, while the other two have a “buy” or higher rating.

“As long as Street forecasts fail to properly reflect Beyond Meat’s remarkable potential, we remain ‘overweight,’” Mr. Goldman said.

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