These are lean times, and we're getting fatter. Following the crowd into the nearest Krispy Kreme
Krispy Kreme has proven to be immune to the bear market. The company went public in the spring of 2000, just as the high-flying Nasdaq stocks were peaking. It was a fitting passing of the baton, as tired high-tech stocks handed off market leadership to its low-tech public newcomer. It's been a love fest ever since.
The company has been able to play the analyst community like a pawn. Dangling guidance, only to edge out ahead when reporting time comes along. This morning, the company posted a 50% surge in second-quarter earnings. The $0.15-a-share showing was a penny above consensus estimates. It's no longer an upside surprise. The company has beaten Wall Street's target by a penny in each of the previous four quarters.
With system-wide sales marching 30% higher on impressive double-digit gains in same-store sales, the company is on a roll, figuratively speaking. The company is inching its full fiscal-year targets higher, though (history would argue), a penny shy each quarter of what the company is ultimately capable of achieving.
Trading at 57 times its new earnings guidance for the year -- or 55 times the more likely $0.66-a-share mark -- Krispy Kreme shares are far from cheap. However, consistent outperformance in good times and bad rarely goes unrewarded. The company has earned a premium -- like its doughnuts -- but the upside is limited in the near term to the levels the dough will rise.