What happened

Kraft Heinz (NASDAQ:KHC) shareholders beat the market last month as the stock gained 16% compared to a 2% increase in the S&P 500 index, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. The rally erased only some of investors' recent losses on this struggling stock, though, and shares are still down over 20% so far in 2019 compared to a surge of over 22% in the S&P 500.

A child eating french fries with ketchup.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

October's rally came almost entirely on the month's final trading day, following Kraft Heinz's third-quarter earnings report. In that announcement, CEO Miguel Patricio and his team revealed continued sales and profit challenges but nonetheless issued positive comments about the future. Revenue trends improved slightly, with organic sales falling 1.1% compared to 1.5% in the second quarter.

Now what

Patricio told investors that management is getting a grip on the key drivers behind the consumer staples giant's poor sales trends, and the slight organic revenue improvement added to that optimism. However, this stock isn't likely to make sustainable gains until executives can demonstrate a path back toward market-beating sales growth and steadily rising earnings. Kraft Heinz's latest report contained no real evidence of that progress, which would show up in metrics like rising sales volumes and improving operating margin. Thus, look for shares to continue trailing the market until these recovery trends start pointing higher.