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Shares of Molson Coors Brewing Co (TAP - Analyst Report) closed at $51.90 on Apr 1, reaching a new 52-week high. Shares of this global brewer have been gaining momentum since it reported solid fourth quarter 2012 results on Feb 14. In fact, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock has set new 52-week highs thrice since the announcement of its fourth quarter results.

The improvement in beer volumes on the back of a recovery in the U.S. economy and increase in consumer spending is driving the shares higher. In addition, the company is geared up to expand in fast growing emerging markets and introduce new products, going forward.

Year-to-date, share prices have recorded a healthy return of 20.0%. The company’s long-term estimated EPS growth rate is 5.40%. Average volume of shares traded over the last three months came in at approximately 1,179K.

Recovering Economy

Like most of the companies, Molson Coors suffered from macro-economic challenges in 2012 including a sluggish U.S. economy and uncertainties in Europe and China. Though the European economy still remains weak, recovery in the U.S. and China has been significant, which in turn increased consumer spending. In addition, the emerging markets have become the focus of investment with rising income levels of consumers.

Impressive Fourth Quarter Results

Molson Coors reported impressive fourth quarter results beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings, while lagging the same for sales. In fact, Molson Coors has surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the last five quarters, with an average surprise of 14.2%. The addition of the StarBev operations in the reported results boosted net sales growth by 9.9% to $1.03 billion in the quarter. Increased worldwide beer volume and foreign exchange also impacted the quarter favorably.

The company’s acquisition of the StarBev business in Jun 2012 has significantly enhanced the company’s portfolio of premium brands. It has also created opportunities for the company in Central Europe to extend its key brands, taking advantage of the attractive beer market. Molson Coors is also eyeing the expanding markets of China with rising consumer demand.

Other Stocks to Consider

Apart from Molson Coors, other stocks in the consumer staples sector that are worth considering are Companhia De Bebidas Das Ame , Kellogg Co. (K - Analyst Report) and Hillshire Brands Co. (HSH - Snapshot Report). While Hillshire holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Kellogg and ABV carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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