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Is Starbucks Corporation (SBUX) a Buy?

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Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) is looking more and more like it will repeat history and continue its trend to a higher share price.

The year so far has been weak for what the coffee shop is used to, with the share price climbing about 23% so far this year, compared to the S&P 500’s 16% growth.

Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX)

The increase in price at Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) might look impressive, but considering the stock has appreciated by about 260% since 2008, and the S&P 500 is up just 20% in that time, much of the growth the coffee shop was experiencing looks to be waning. However, an improving economy and prospects overseas could keep the momentum intact.

Finding the right time to buy

Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) is facing a $2.9 billion lawsuit from Kraft Foods Group Inc (NASDAQ:KRFT) over a $500-million-a-year distribution deal between the two companies beginning in the 1990s. After incredible success, Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) wants out of the contract, and offered to pay $750 million to do so. However, according to the contract, Starbucks has to pay fair market value for the business, in addition to a 35% premium. That is now estimated to be near the $2.9 billion figure. The lawsuit is expected to be settled sometime this year.

Despite the heavy weight on Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX)’ shoulders, the company is worth nearly $50 billion, and the lawsuit wouldn’t be a game changer for the company, which has shown interest in expanding to India, China, and Indonesia. That means once the lawsuit is settled, any dip could trigger a buying opportunity following the likely sell off.

On the flip side

Shares of Kraft Foods Group Inc (NASDAQ:KRFT) could increase if the company is able to secure the $2.9 billion. However, that modest increase in capitalization wouldn’t make an impact on the company’s ability to perform. Anyone waiting for a pullback in the price of Kraft Foods Group Inc (NASDAQ:KRFT), which is up about 20% so far this year, will likely instead see an inflated price given any lawsuit settlement in its favor. The growth of the company will likely slow after its recent restructuring efforts and low-cost pricing initiatives.

Starbucks looks to profit from the economic recovery

During the recession, many people found cheaper ways to drink coffee. McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) started using Arabica beans for premium roast coffees in 2006. That created some competition for Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX), but now the economy is improving, and the chances of coffee drinkers returning to Starbucks is likely. That will take away profits from McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD).

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