This article is part of our Real-Money Stock Picks series.
It's been an interesting earnings season so far. Starbucks
Starbucks' fiscal third-quarter operating income increased 22% to $492 million; earnings per share jumped 19% to $0.43 per share. Total revenue gained 13% to $3.3 billion, while global same-store sales rose a healthy 6%, including a 7% increase in the U.S.
Investor sentiment toward companies like Starbucks and Chipotle has been choppy recently. Starbucks and Chipotle may have disappointed investors who expected more, but Whole Foods Market
Starbucks, Chipotle, and Whole Foods are all stocks I have purchased for the socially progressive real-money portfolio I'm managing for Fool.com. Considerable decreases in stock prices for both Starbucks and Chipotle simply signal a better time for investors to buy in, and those of us who already hold them -- and call ourselves long-term investors, not traders -- should count to 10 and remember not to sweat the short term.
Panera Bread is another stock I have occasionally eyed for the portfolio. I can't say its current price tantalizes me, though. I'm waiting for some temporary pessimism, similar to what has befallen Starbucks and Chipotle.
When it comes to Starbucks specifically, the stock's now trading at just 20 times forward earnings, and let's not forget, Starbucks has some interesting growth-oriented initiatives up its metaphorical sleeve. Evolution Fresh, La Boulange, the new Starbucks Refreshers product line, and a deal with Coinstar
Things may feel panicky for some companies right now, but smart investors will persevere -- and take advantage of price weakness to buy up shares of the best American companies.
Is Starbucks not your cup of tea, so to speak? Our analysts have dubbed one retailer "The Top Stock for 2012," and it's a stock you may have never heard of. Click the link for your free report.