But what's the whole coffee hype about, anyway. My wife, for example, worships Starbucks, even though she doesn't drink coffee. She's willing to drive 30+ miles from our South Carolina home on weekend mornings to get a cup or hot chocolate or chai. But never coffee. So what's going on here?
Starbucks has dominated the scene because it creates a 'scene.' It's a place to be and exist. Many people just seem to like the ambiance and setting and Starbucks knows how to play off of that. So it's not about the coffee, right? Or maybe it is, people certainly pay for the coffee, sometimes a lot. Sometimes even $7 for a single cup of coffee.
So there's something there for coffee, and with the recent news I thought I'd look at some of the firms that sell it. You might be surprised at who I think is worth investing in for the coffee angle.
Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX)
Starbucks is the 800-pound gorilla in the room. The company's market cap is $42 billion and the chain is so ubiquitous and so associated with coffee that jokes about the brew center on the place in television and movies. The funny thing is, even though the firm is so popular, so media-friendly, here in the United States, the real growth in the firm is overseas. It's been going gangbusters in China and other parts of the Pacific Rim. The firm has opened hundreds, perhaps thousands of shops in China alone, much less the other East Asian countries. If that keeps up there's no telling how far coffee and danishes can take it. The company’s stock has been largely flat, though. Curiously so. It has a high P/E at 30.59 for a firm that's not having its price driven up. The dividend did get raised from 17 cents per share to 21, though. That's still a moderate 1.48% yield, so that's nice but it won't drive investment. All that tells me that Starbucks value is already locked into the share price and something else, something not short-term, will be required to really boost it again.
Dunkin Brands Group Inc (NASDAQ:DNKN)
No one ever believes me about this, but the popular donut shop is a sleeper when it comes to coffee investments. Not that people don't know about it. It's not a hidden gem. But people, despite the company's attempts to promote coffee, just don't think about the firm that way. They should. The company is aggressively expanding into new markets and products and very much wants to become the prime stop for commuters looking for a bite and drink on their way to work. Currently trading at $36.70, Argus just set a price target of $42 for the growing firm. This is in addition to the 20% or so share growth the firm has seen in the last 12 months. And there's a dividend similar to Starbucks with a yield of 1.63%