Coca-Cola shares rise after Credit Suisse upgrades the stock, predicts 20% rally

Coca-Cola has transformed into a better business that's growing faster with more cash on hand than ever, according to Credit Suisse.

The firm upgraded shares of Coca-Cola to outperform from neutral and raised its price target to $64 per share, near 20% upside to Wednesday's closing price of $54.35 per share. The upgrade sent shares of Coca-Cola up 1.8% to $55.33 per share on Thursday.

"The benefits of the structural changes at Coke are reinforced by positive commentary from bottlers, retailers and other industry contacts in recent months," said Credit Suisse research analyst Kaumil Gajrawala in a note to clients on Thursday.

Since James Quincey became CEO of the company in May of 2017, shares of Coca-Cola have risen about 26%. Quincey has spurred growth in historically slow-or-no growth parts of Coke's business, like sparking beverages and developed economies, said Gajrawala. Plus, the beverage company's focus on pricing should unlock pricing power in years to come, the firm noted.