Why Starbucks Stock Is on Its Way to a New 52-Week High

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Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) reported third-quarter fiscal 2015 results after markets closed Thursday. For the quarter, the coffee roaster and restaurant company posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.41 on revenues of $4.88 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $0.34 on revenues of $4.15 billion. Third-quarter results compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.41 and $4.86 billion in revenues.

Full-year same-store sales rose 8% in the Americas, 3% in EMEA, and 11% in Asia/Pacific. Globally, same-store sales rose 7%. Starbucks opened 431 new stores (net) in the quarter, bringing the global store count to 22,519.

The company’s CEO said:

Starbucks Q3 fiscal 2015 stands as among the strongest and most remarkable quarters in our over 23 years as a public company. The 4% increase in global transactions we reported equates to our having served an additional 23 million customer occasions in Q3 of this year over last year, clearly evidencing a continuation of the strong momentum we have seen across our business and around the world this fiscal year

For the 2015 fiscal year, Starbucks expects to open a total of about 1,650 net new stores. About 600 will be opened in the Americas and about half of those will be licensed, another 200 are planned for EMEA, primarily licensed, and about 850 in China/Asia Pacific, of which two-thirds are expected to be licensed.

The fiscal year 2015 adjusted EPS forecast now calls for $1.57 to $1.58 on revenue growth of 16% to 18%. The consensus analysts’ estimates call for EPS of $1.57 on revenues of $19.16 billion.

Global comparable store sales growth continues to be targeted in the mid-single digits for the full fiscal year.

Analysts expected a lot from Starbucks and the company delivered. In addition to the quarterly results the company said the board had authorized an increase of 50 million in addition to the 11 million shares remaining in the company’s buyback program.

Starbucks’ shares traded up about 2.4% in after-hours trading at $58.00, above the 52-week range of $35.39 to $57.00. If the price holds after markets open on Friday, the company will have a new 52-week high. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of $56.54 before today’s report.

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