Hershey has had a powerful 2022, and that momentum might be carried into the brand new 12 months, in line with UBS. Analyst Cody Ross upgraded the inventory to purchase from impartial and elevated his value goal to $269 from $244. The brand new goal implies upside of 13.7% from Wednesday’s shut. He mentioned the corporate will stay in a “beat and lift cycle” via 2025 – whilst buyers develop more and more involved about packaged meals corporations’ skills to extend earnings as headwinds linger. “Our [near-term] confidence is underpinned by wrap-around value advantages in 2023 coupled with capability additions, whereas our [long-term] confidence is pushed by a extra accommodative working surroundings in Confection and a protracted runway of progress for sizable Snacks enterprise,” Ross mentioned in a observe Wednesday. Hershey’s natural gross sales are anticipated to develop by 12% this 12 months, whereas earnings per share are forecast to broaden by 16%. That will make it the best earnings progress in UBS’ protection this 12 months, in line with Ross. The corporate is predicted to see slimmer features persevering with regardless of a souring trade outlook. By Ross’ estimate, Hershey ought to ship 9% natural gross sales progress in 2023 earlier than coming all the way down to a 4% improve in 2024 and 2025. Earnings per-share is predicted to extend 14% in 2023, adopted by 9% annual provides within the following two years. Nonetheless, he mentioned that efficiency would make it a shiny spot inside the packaged meals sector as an entire in 2023. Ross mentioned buyers are significantly fearful concerning the trade because of the potential for continued headwinds from curiosity expense and pension revenue, international alternate, inflation, and the provision chain. There’s additionally an abnormally low degree of visibility into the trade round this time, he mentioned. Hershey rose 1.8% in premarket buying and selling. The inventory has outperformed this 12 months, rising 22.3%, whereas the broader market has struggled. — CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.