Buy Barbie: Mattel is set to surge after recent turnaround, Bank of America says

Mattel is through its turnaround and is now in growth mode, making this a good time to snap up shares of the toy company, according to Bank of America. Bank of America initiated coverage of Mattel with a buy rating and a $31 price target, 32% above where shares closed Wednesday. Mattel has worked in recent years to better align its toy offerings with content, according to Bank of America. Its supportive content lineup includes its live action Barbie movie, which is set for release July 2023, and Monster High, which it is bringing back after it was discontinued in the 2010s. “Mattel also recently won back the Disney Princess toy license which we believe should be a material tailwind starting next year especially with the expected release of a live action Little Mermaid movie and live action Snow White,” Jason Haas wrote in a Thursday note. “Mattel has a strong IP library of its own and plans to release live action movies over the next several years based on its properties ranging from Hot Wheels and Masters of the Universe to Polly Pocket and Barney.” In addition, Mattel is also working to boost its gross margins, which should improve with better resin and shipping costs. Recession proof Of course, the U.S. does have a weakening economic backdrop with consumers worrying about an upcoming recession. While toys are not immune to an economic downturn, they do tend to outperform other spending categories, according to Bank of America. “Toy spending meaningfully outperformed other hardline categories through the Great Recession as parents typically will pull back spending on themselves before their kids,” Haas wrote. “That has proven true so far this year with toy spending remaining strong and favorable commentary from retailers.” Hasbro also a buy This is one of the reasons that Bank of America is overall bullish on toys. The bank also reinstated coverage of Hasbro with a buy rating and a $96 price target, implying shares could run up another 18% from current levels. Hasbro’s content lineup is also top of the market, including a new “Black Panther” movie this year followed by “Ant-Man,” “Dungeons & Dragons,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Spider-Man,” “Transformers” and “Star Wars” next year. –CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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