1 Stock Looking Better Than Ever

They might not be lining up for Apple iPhones like they used to, but they're still lining up for the green mermaid's grande lattes. Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX  ) reported record results for the quarter ending July 1, the company's fiscal third quarter.

Six reasons to jump for joy

  • Revenue was up 13% year over year, for total revenue this quarter of $3.3 billion.
  • Earnings per share were up 19.4%, from $0.36 to $0.43.
  • Comparable-store sales were up 7% in the U.S. and 6% globally.
  • Operating income rose 22%. So did operating margin, from 13.7% to 14.9% YOY.
  • The company opened 231 new stores worldwide, including store number 600 in China and its first stores in Costa Rica and Finland.

One reason to sit quietly
"While still representing earnings growth of approximately 20% over last year's fourth quarter," CFO Troy Alstead said, "we have lowered our expectations for Q4 FY12 earnings per share, to $0.44 to $0.45, to reflect the difficult economic environment all global retailers are confronting today."

Droughts. Floods. Rising food and commodity prices. The continuing hangover from the financial crash. The continuing uncertainty over Europe. The looming U.S. fiscal cliff. Need I continue? Consumers and businesses don't know which way to turn these days, or whether to turn at all; many are just frozen in place, waiting for some sign from the heavens to start spending again or start hiring.

All right, now you can start smiling again
But Starbucks is looking good right now, which is great news for investors. Peering further into the future, as I wrote the other day, the company may have missed a big opportunity in not snapping up Peet's Coffee & Tea (Nasdaq: PEET  ) , which just announced a deal to be taken private by a German holding company.

But who knows? That was a $1 billion dollar deal, which would have almost halved Starbucks cash reserve. In this economic climate, maybe holding onto its cash and focusing on an obviously successful game plan was the right thing to do.

Going up against McDonald's (NYSE: MCD  ) worldwide, which is pushing beverages harder and harder lately due to burger-beating margins, might be work enough for the moment. And Green Mountain Coffee Roasters' (Nasdaq: GMCR  ) lock on the single-serve market won't last forever; its key patents are expiring later this year. Hence, another potential source of upcoming revenue for Starbucks.

Keep up with all the latest news on Starbucks, Peet's, and McDonald's by adding them to your free Motley Fool watch list:

Fool contributor John Grgurich owns several chipped Starbucks coffee mugs, but no shares of any of the companies mentioned in this column.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Starbucks, McDonald's, and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of McDonald's, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and Starbucks. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended writing covered calls on Starbucks. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a lurking gator position in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. 

The Motley Fool has a moving disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.


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