Shares of Constellation Brands Inc. slid 1.2% Monday, after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to neutral, while shares of Boston Beer Co. Inc. fell 5% after Goldman downgraded that stock tosell, citing concerns about slowing U.S. beer volumes. Nielsen data is signaling a 0.6% decline for the first half, analyst Judy Hong said in a note. "We acknowledge that some of the softness is likely due to higher volatility in the measured channel data, as well as less favorable weather patterns," Hong wrote. "However, we increasingly see broader secular challenges of 4-P's (Population, Penetration, Pricing, and Placement) putting pressure on beer volume for the foreseeable future." . Hong lowered her overall U.S. beer volume forecast for 2017 to 2018 to down 0.7% to down 0.3% versus a previous forecast of flat to up 0.1%. The analyst left shares of Molson Coors Brewing Co. at buy, because "while we see lingering volume risk, undemanding valuation and potential for healthy free cash flow growth warrant a Buy rating with 19% upside, in our view," said the note. Constellation Brands shares have gained 13% in 2017, while Boston Beer has fallen 24% and Molson Coors has lost 9%. The S&P 500 has gained about 10% in the same period.
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