4-Star Stocks Poised to Pop: Panera Bread

Market-trouncing returns could be written in this four-atar.

Brian D. Pacampara, CFA
Brian D. Pacampara, CFA
Sep 11, 2012 at 12:00AM

Based on the aggregated intelligence of 180,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, bakery-cafe operator Panera Bread Company (Nasdaq: PNRA) has earned a respected four-star ranking.

With that in mind, let's take a closer look at Panera's business and see what CAPS investors are saying about the stock right now.

Panera facts

Headquarters (founded) St. Louis (1981)
Market Cap $4.7 billion
Industry Restaurants
Trailing-12-Month Revenue $2.0 billion
Management Co-Founder/Chairman/Co-CEO Ronald Shaich
Co-CEO William Moreton
Return on Equity (average, past 3 years) 19.7%
Cash/Debt $255.8 million / $0
Competitors Chipotle Mexican Grill
Einstein Noah Restaurant Group

Sources: S&P Capital IQ and Motley Fool CAPS.

On CAPS, 90% of the 1,471 members who have rated Panera believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward.

Just yesterday, one of those bulls, NHWeston, tapped Panera as a particularly tasty growth opportunity:

Soup and sandwich -- how can you miss with variations of the basic lunch menu? They're growing at a measured, [judicious] pace, expanding their bakery line (not getting exotic), and the customers do the policing (you and your laptop don't get to spend all morning on a cup of coffee -- patrons will "pull-yer-plug"). Good prospects.

If you want market-beating returns, you need to put together the best portfolio you can. Owning exceptional stocks is a surefire way to secure your financial future. Of course, despite a strong four-star rating, Panera may not be your top choice.

We've found another stock we are incredibly excited about -- excited enough to dub it "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." We have compiled a special free report for investors to uncover this stock today. The report is 100% free, but it won't be here forever, so click here to access it now.

Want to see how well (or not so well) the stocks in this series are performing? Follow the TrackPoisedTo CAPS account.