Procter & Gamble Co.'s stock climbed 1.8% in premarket trade Tuesday, after the consumer products giant was upgraded at Stifel Nicolaus, which cited expectations of accelerating sales and attractive valuation and dividend yield. Analyst Mark Astrachan raised his rating to buy from hold, and established a stock price target of $85, which is 13% above Friday's closing price of $74.98. He wrote in a note to clients that he believes sales growth with accelerate in the coming year, "driven by improving market share trends resulting from improving execution, innovation, selective reinvestment of cost savings and increasingly favorable [year-over-year] comparisons." Astrachan believes P&G's size, scale and diverse product portfolio, and 3.5% current dividend yield--the S&P 500's dividend yield is 2.37%, according to FactSet--provides downside protection for investors. The stock has slipped 0.2% over the past three months through Friday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost 7.2%.
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