Wendy's Squares Away 2013 With a Solid Fourth Quarter

Angular-burger architect Wendy's (NASDAQ: WEN  ) reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings this morning, and the preliminary results make it clear the fast-food giant is closing out 2013 with a bang. The company also forecast strong full-year earnings, further cheering investors, and sending shares as much as 8% higher in early trading.

Wendy's has been undergoing a long-term overhaul of its public image, most notably with its commercials, which now star a 20-something, redheaded spokeswoman. The company has also added compelling new products to its lineup, including the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger and the Pretzel Bacon Pub Sandwich, as well as the Bacon Portabella Melt on Brioche. These new sandwiches are being credited with lifting same-store sales by 1.9%.

Motley Fool analyst Taylor Muckerman notes that Wendy's stock has easily outperformed Burger King shares and McDonald's stock over the last six months, due in part to its ongoing restructuring. Taylor likes the stock going forward and thinks it's good exposure for investors who want to enter the fast-food space.

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