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Can Starbucks Deliver the Earnings Analysts Expect?

Paul Ausick

Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) will report fiscal third-quarter earnings after the bell on Thursday, and analysts are looking for revenues of $4.87 billion and earnings per share of $0.41. Those numbers represent more than a 17% jump in revenues and profits. No one can claim the bar has been set too low.

Growth is expected based on the company’s determined move into global markets and the company’s ability to execute on its goals. Some recent analyst calls are mostly positive, with one exception:

  • RBC Capital reiterated an Outperform rating and raised the stock’s price target from $55 to $60.
  • BTIG Research initiated coverage with a Buy rating and a price target of $64.
  • Argus reiterated its Buy rating but lowered the price target from $64 to $59, just a week after raising it.
  • Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock from its Conviction Buy list to Buy.
  • Piper Jaffray reiterated a Buy rating and a price target of $63.

In general, analysts expect Starbucks to post strong same-store sales and build a global packaged business to match its U.S. consumer packaged goods efforts.

Starbucks shares are up more than 37% year to date and 43% over the past 12 months.

The company recently teamed up with ride-share firm Lyft to boost its loyalty program. Under the deal, Lyft drivers and riders who use Lyft’s mobile app can earn Starbucks loyalty points that can be redeemed for food and beverages at Starbucks stores. The program is similar to one that Starbucks kicked off in May with music-streaming company Spotify.

Starbucks stock traded down about 0.4% in the noon hour on Thursday, at $56.46 in a 52-week range of $35.39 to $57.00. The high was posted Thursday, and the consensus price target is $56.54.

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