So what: The stock's gain was spread fairly evenly throughout the month, as buying pressure built ahead of the company's second-quarter 2015 earnings. Released on July 23, the report indicated that the beverage purveyor is holding its own despite a challenging environment for sweetened carbonated beverage sales, and diet sodas in particular.
Dr. Pepper Snapple Group reported a net sales increase of 1% during the quarter, and operating profit expansion of 6%. Adjusting for the effects of foreign exchange, the company's revenue and operating profit in constant currency terms rose 3% and 7%, respectively.
Latin America led the company's three major segments in volume growth, with a 7% increase versus Q2 2014. However, revenue in this segment declined by 9% because of the strength of the U.S. dollar versus Latin American currencies. On a currency-neutral basis, Latin American revenue rose 5%.
The company's diet CSD (carbonated soft drinks) sales still remain on the defensive. Diet soft-drink brands industrywide have suffered recently from consumers' growing unease with artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame, which is found in Diet Dr. Pepper. Dr Pepper Snapple Group noted that its flagship diet drink saw a relatively muted revenue decline of 3%, an improvement on recent quarterly trends.
While Dr Pepper Snapple isn't exactly throwing off explosive revenue growth, shareholders are pleased with consistent earnings increases, in part supported by the company's RCI, or rapid continuous improvement, productivity and cost cutting initiatives. Management raised full-year guidance with the issuance of Q2 2015 numbers, increasing its "core" earnings per share outlook by $0.05, to a range of between $3.85 and $3.93.
Now what: Dr Pepper Snapple's executive team has provided support to the company's stock price with steady share repurchases and maintenance of a dividend that currently yields 2.5%. Year to date, management has implemented $251 million of share buybacks, and it's planning to repurchase between $250 million and $300 million of additional shares before year's end. While it's unlikely that DPS stock will repeat last year's 53% leap in price, the company's solid financial performance has provided some justification for the appreciation already seen this year.