Coca-Cola surprises investors with better-than-expected 1Q

ATLANTA (AP) — The Coca-Cola Co. surprised investors with a better-than-expected first quarter, but it’s still expecting slower growth for the full year.

Coke reported net income of $1.7 billion, or 39 cents per share, up from 32 cents per share in the January-March period a year ago.

Without one-time items, Coke earned 48 cents per share, beating Wall Street’s expectations. Analysts forecast earnings of 46 cents per share.

Revenue grew 5 percent to $8 billion, also topping analysts’ expectations. Operating revenue rose in all of Coke’s global regions.

Coke shares jumped 4 percent to $49.10 in premarket trading.

In February, Coke triggered its worst sell-off in more than a decade after it forecast slower-than-expected revenue growth this year because of currency fluctuations and volatility in emerging markets. Coke still expects organic revenue growth of 4 percent this year, which is a percentage point slower than in 2018.

In the first quarter, Coke was able to command better pricing, particularly in Europe and Latin America. It also saw 6 percent growth in sales of water and sports drinks. Soft drink sales were up 1 percent, while juice, tea and coffee sales were flat from the prior year.

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