Coca-Cola and Panera Fall on Weak Guidance

The blue chips ended relatively flat as Coca-Cola and Panera both disappointed the market with poor outlooks for the year ahead.

Feb 18, 2014 at 10:00PM

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.

Investors returned from the long weekend to a sleepy opening to the week as stocks finished relatively flat today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) closed down 24 points or 0.2%, while the S&P 500 inched up just 0.1% as the market reacted to more news on mergers and a poor housing report. At the top of the deal board was Actavis, which shelled $25 billion to by Forest Laboratories, sending the target up 27.5%. Meanwhile, the National Association of Home Builders' index fell 10 points to 46, well below expectations of 56. A drop like that might normally send stocks tumbling, but the association pointed the finger at bad weather, which has been the blame for much of the poor economic data we've seen lately.

Bringing down consumer-goods stocks today was Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), which fell 3.8% after reporting earnings this morning. Coke's woes at home continued as North American volume sales fell 1% in the quarter on a 3% drop in sparkling beverage. The beverage giant also came up short on sales, posting revenue of $11.04 billion on expectations of $11.31 billion. Adjusted earnings increased a penny, in line with estimates at $0.46, but management also warned about the year ahead saying foreign currency headwinds would take a big bite out of profits, projecting a 7% drop in 2014 operating income because of changing rates. Given those issues and the continuing decline in soda consumption domestically, we could see more painful reports for Coke in coming quarters.

After hours, shares of Panera Bread (NASDAQ:PNRA) were falling as well, down 2% after a 2.8% drop in the regular session. The bakery/cafe chain actually beat earnings estimates in the quarter past, posting a per-share profit of $1.96, ahead of the consensus at $1.94. Revenue was in line with estimates, coming in at $661.7 million on 15.8% growth as comparable sales improved 1.7%. However, the outlook for the current quarter was not as strong as the company said same-store sales had fallen 2.2%, citing the weather, and said it now expected EPS of just $1.49-$1.55, below estimates of $1.70. Full-year guidance was also below expectations at $6.80-$7.05 as the company plans make "investments in its strategic plan." Top-line growth and store expansion plans still look solid for Panera, but with waning same-store sales the stock's days of crushing the market may be over.

One stock for 2014
Coke and Panera may not have what it takes this year, but our chief investment officer has just selected his No. 1 stock for 2014, and it's one of those stocks that could make you rich. You can find out which stock it is in the special free report "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

Jeremy Bowman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Coca-Cola and Panera Bread. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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