Why J&J Snack Foods Corp. Shares Jumped

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

What: Shares of J&J Snack Foods Corp. (NASDAQ: JJSF  ) were looking tasty today, gaining as much as 15% after the company posted a strong first-quarter earnings report.

So what: The maker of snacks including soft pretzels and pastries topped earnings estimates by $0.09 with a per-share profit of $0.66, up from $0.54 a year ago. Sales also topped expectations, improving 6% to $203.5 million. CEO Gerald Shreiber said, "Our food service group continues to perform well as we continue to expand our line of soft pretzels into restaurant chains. We have expanded our manufacturing capabilities in anticipation of continued growth in this area."

Now what: J&J's report was short but sweet. In addition to beating on top and bottom lines, the company saw solid improvement in gross margin, which improved from 28.2% to 29.4%. Selling stadium-type snacks such as soft pretzels, the company is far from flashy, but may be exactly the type of business that's flying under the radar and growing solidly and dependably that makes a great investment. Shares are now up 40% in the past year, and reached an all-time high on the news as they've climbed steadily over the last 15 years.

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