Monster, Sonic, and Yum! All Move Higher Today

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

On most days, stocks move based on overall market sentiment, but sometimes there's something specific, such as an earnings report, a new product launch, or a company announcement. Those are the kinds of things investors should pay attention to. Even if the news is just an analyst's ratings change, a number of them in a short period of time could signal that the market is changing its opinion about that stock.

So let's look at a few food and beverage stocks that moved today for some of those reasons.

Shares of Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM  ) rose 1.4% today after RBC Capital analyst Jack Kindregan upgraded the stock from "outperform" to a "Top Pick" and increased his price target from $85 to $87. Kindregan believes that Yum!'s sales trends will accelerate in the second half of 2014 in China. The company faces some rather easy comps targets in 2014, after being plagued with problems in China in 2013.  

Another stock getting an analyst boost was Monster Beverage (NASDAQ: MNST  ) , which rose 1.93% as the company held its investor meeting today. Back on Jan. 3, analysts at Goldman Sachs increased Monster's estimates and cited reaccelerating sales and positive commentary about new products. Goldman said it expected shares to outperform during the first half of 2014 and increased its price target from $70 to $79. That was all back a few days ago, but today's move was probably caused by what investors heard at the meeting -- meaning Goldman's call may have been spot-on. 

Lastly, shares of Sonic (NASDAQ: SONC  ) rose 4.68% today after reporting first-quarter earnings. Despite reporting a profit of $0.13 per share, in line with estimates, the company missed on revenue and same-store sales figures. But with net income of $8.2 million, compared with the $6.1 million the company reported last year, investors forgot all about the miss. Furthermore, management believes the company will grow EPS by 15% during 2014 because of a higher store count and better same-store sales numbers, and the company also thinks it can increase margins by 75 to 100 basis points, which is something investors love to hear. For more about Sonic's earnings report and future, click here.  

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