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Shares of coffee giant Starbucks Corp. (SBUX - Analyst Report) reached a new 52-week high of $60.92 on Monday, Apr 29, following strong earnings results for the second quarter of fiscal 2013. Starbucks also upped its earnings guidance for fiscal 2013, while retaining its sales, comps and operating margin outlook.

The closing price of the coffee maker on Apr 29 was $60.58, representing a solid 1-year return of about 5.6% and year-to-date return of about 10.2%. Average volume of shares traded over the last three months stands at approximately 5180K.

Growth Drivers

During the second quarter of fiscal 2013, earnings soared 20% year over year to 48 cents on the back of solid margin growth.

Total sales for the second quarter increased 11% year over year to $3.56 billion but slightly missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.59 billion. Beverage and food innovations and the steady sales growth in the U.S. and Asia were partially offset by the weakness in Europe.

Same-store sales, which exclude the impact of new company-operated stores opened in the past 13 months, grew 6%, same as in the first quarter of fiscal 2013.

Adjusted operating margin increased 180 basis points (bps) to 15.3% driven by strong sales leverage and lower coffee costs. Cost controls and improved efficiency in the retail stores also boosted margins.

The company upped its earnings guidance for 2013 but maintained its sales, comps and operating margin outlook. Earnings expectations were upgraded from a range of $2.06 - $2.15 to $2.12 - $2.18 (including the second-quarter one-time gain from sale of minority equity stake in a joint venture in Mexico).

Starbucks carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). The company has compelling growth drivers, like La Boulange bakery products, Verismo at-home-coffee machine, Evolution Fresh juices, Teavana tea and K-Cups portion packs, to sustain the earnings momentum in the upcoming quarters.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (GMCR - Analyst Report), which carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), is another stock worth considering in this space.

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