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Shares of Molson Coors Brewing Co (TAP - Analyst Report) reached a new 52-week high of $53.35 on May 17 following the announcement of its solid first quarter 2013 results on May 7. Shares of this global brewer closed at $53.32 on May 17, recording a healthy return of 23.3% on a year-to-date basis. 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 1,369K.

Impressive First Quarter Results

Molson Coors reported impressive first quarter sales, which outpaced the prior-year quarter by 19.8% due to the addition of the StarBev operations. 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.

Total worldwide beer volume also increased double-digits in the quarter. 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. Though the European economy still remains weak, overall 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 consumers’ income.

Overall, we are encouraged by the company’s strong brand portfolio, continuous innovation and cost-saving initiatives. In addition, Molson Coors continues to focus on its strategy of maximizing profitable growth opportunities in the core markets and expanding into new and emerging markets. Molson Coors is also eyeing the expanding markets of China.

Other Stocks to Consider

Apart from Molson Coors, other stocks in the consumer staples sector that are worth considering are Sanderson Farms, Inc (SAFM - Snapshot Report), The Coca Cola Co. (KO - Analyst Report) and PepsiCo Inc. (PEP - Analyst Report). While Sanderson holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Coca Cola and PepsiCo carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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