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Why Beyond Meat Stock Withered on Wednesday

What happened

Beyond Meat (NASDAQ: BYND), the bellwether alternative-protein stock, lost a little weight on the stock market Wednesday. Following a pair of new analyst notes that were not particularly positive, investors traded the company's shares down by 1.7% on the day.

So what

The first note was a reiteration, with Piper Sandler prognosticator Michael Lavery leaving unchanged his neutral recommendation and $64 price target on Beyond Meat stock.

Image source: Getty Images.

In his latest note on the company, Lavery waxed enthusiastic about the prospects of the McPlant, the Beyond Meat-developed sandwich being tested as a menu item by McDonald's. Pointing out that the McPlant will be rolled out in a new phase to around 600 McDonald's restaurants in California and Texas next month, he wrote that this "suggests a full U.S. launch to nearly 14,000 restaurants is likely coming later than the end of 1Q."

Which is certainly cause for celebration. Yet the analyst continued, saying, "We remain bearish on key fundamentals for [Beyond Meat]," despite the fact that the McPlant is likely to be "a near-term catalyst" for the company.

Meanwhile, Mizuho's John Baumgartner initiated coverage on the stock on the same day. Like Lavery, he thinks it's a neutral, and he's slapped an uninspiring $59 price target on it.

"We believe long-term expectations are too high," on the company's prospects, Baumgartner wrote.

He also pointed out, "Retail money flow has waned, Street expectations are resetting lower, and short interest is 35% of the float."

Now what

Beyond Meat certainly has its acolytes and believers, and no matter how gloomy the research, they should help provide a floor to the stock. But the two analysts are right to be somewhat cool on its prospects despite looming successes like the McPlant.

After all, the company's pathway to sustained profitability is far from clear, and meanwhile competition continues to intensify in the alternative-protein segment of the food industry.

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Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns and recommends Beyond Meat, Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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