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Shares of Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. (DPS - Analyst Report) reached a 52-week high of $52.66 on Feb 26, 2014 following solid fourth quarter 2013 results and dividend hikes announced earlier this month. The closing price of the cola giant on Feb 26, 2013 was $51.59, representing a solid year-to-date return of about 8.2%.

Solid Fourth Quarter Performance

The share price of Dr Pepper Snapple has been rising in February backed by a string of good news which includes the solid fourth quarter 2013 earnings results, a dividend hike and a strategic agreement with Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. (BWLD - Analyst Report).

Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s fourth-quarter 2013 adjusted earnings of 97 cents per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 85 cents by 14.1%. Moreover, earnings increased 18.3% year over year due to pricing gains, productivity improvements and a LIFO inventory benefit.

Though sales were relatively softer, adjusted operating income increased 10.2% year over year to $323 million during the quarter, owing to lower expenses. The company’s cash position is also strong. In fact, a week prior to its earnings announcement the company declared a 7.9% increase in quarterly dividend.   

On Feb 11, the company entered into an agreement with Buffalo Wild Wings to offer its drinks at all Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants by mid 2014. Buffalo Wild Wings is popular among sports fans for its dine-and-watch games facility.  Also, Buffalo Wild Wings offerings are marked by strong flavors, which perfectly complement the beverages from Dr Pepper Snapple. Moreover, all major sporting events are scheduled the same way as in the year-ago period with the addition of Winter Olympics. The sport events are expected to boost guest traffic at Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants. As DPS drinks will be served in these restaurants, this in turn will boost sales volume.    

Estimates have mostly gone up after Dr Pepper announced strong fourth quarter results and the agreement with Buffalo Wild Wings. As such, over the last 30 days, the Zacks consensus for the fiscal 2014 rose 3.7% to $3.39, whereas the estimates for fiscal 2015 rose 3.2% to $3.60.   

Dr Pepper Snapple presently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other stocks worth considering in the sector include Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. (CCE - Analyst Report) and Monster Beverage Corporation (MNST - Analyst Report), both pf which carry the same Zacks Rank as Dr Pepper Snapple.

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