Beer sales are rising with the summer heat, but investors chose to quench their thirst Tuesday with shares of beer giant Molson Coors (TAP) while giving a cold shoulder to craft brewer Boston Beer Co. (SAM) .
Molson Coors jumped 3.8% to $56.30 as investors continued to soak up news that the global brewer plans to hike its dividend payments. TAP recently announced plans to boost its quarterly dividend to 57 cents a share for stockholders of record as of Aug. 20. That represents a 39% increase from Molson Coor’s previous 41-cent-per-share payout.
The dividend hike comes as the beer giant pushes ahead with plans to reduce debt and cut costs by closing underperforming breweries and other measures, with as much $205 million in savings pegged for 2019, according to Zacks Investment Research. “TAP is focused on boosting investors’ sentiments through several growth initiatives and shareholder-friendly moves,” Zacks wrote in a recent note.
Still, Molson Coors faces a tough and highly competitive market, with shifts in consumer tastes that have punished the big brewers while rewarding smaller craft-beer makers.
Analysts at JPMorgan have a neutral rating on the stock, noting that Molson Coors’ U.S. sales fell 2.2% over the past month even as the broader beer, flavored-malt-beverage and cider market saw a 2.7% increase.
Meanwhile, shares of Boston Beer Co. fell 2% to $385.80 Tuesday amid downbeat forecasts for its quarterly earnings report due out Thursday.
Analysts surveyed by Zacks predict the company, best known for its Sam Adams beer, will only earn $1.83 a share. That would represent a 7.6% decline from the same period a year ago.
On the plus side, analysts surveyed by Zacks expect Boston Beer’s revenue to rise 13.2% year over year to $309.2 million for the latest quarter.