UBS upgrades Coca-Cola, citing "willingness to adapt"

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Investment bank UBS on Thursday upgraded Coca-Cola's shares to a "buy" rating. Analyst Kaumil Gajrawala said positives for the Atlanta-based company include its ability to deliver "solid, mid-single digit global volume growth."

Also, Gajrawala said, Coca-Cola has strong free cash flow growth and share buybacks, $400-$500 million in productivity gains, cost synergies of $350 million from its acquisition of most of bottler Coca-Cola Enterprises, and a dominant position in emerging markets.

Coke's executives are more nimble and aggressive than those in the past, Gajrawala wrote, with the CCE deal demonstrating "willingness to adapt when dictated by the market."

Despite the upgrade, UBS' top beverage pick continues to be PepsiCo, Coca-Cola's arch-rival, which just bought its top two U.S. bottlers in a $7.8 billion deal.