"Investors do have great confidence in Howard, and based on his comments yesterday they could tell that Howard is keenly aware that the company has to grow its online, digital business as well as opening new bricks-and-mortar stores," Courtenay writes in an email.
Investors gave the company and the stock a "vote of confidence" for 2014, because the company still has a lot of untapped opportunity internationally.
Credit Suisse analyst Karen Holthouse said Starbucks "still represents the most attractive multinational investment opportunity in restaurants."Holthouse says that from a valuation standpoint, Starbucks is "more compelling than investors realize," according to a note on Friday. Credit Suisse rates Starbucks shares "outperform." The company is also "benefitting from an outperforming high-end consumer, while [McDonald's (MCD)] is over-indexed to a still very-stressed low end consumer," the note said. Starbucks is also "in a unique position to benefit from growing preferences for higher quality foods, as it has made (and continues to make) significant investments in convenience, while also expanding the variety of fast-casual quality products it can offer with QSR-style convenience," Holthouse writes. "MCD sits squarely on the other side of this change in behavior." Even though I don't even drink coffee, my trips to Starbucks are not that often. I still visit them for a number of reasons: the tea and the lemon loaf, but that's not at all. Besides delicious baked goods, one of the main reasons I visit them, is for their convenience. Starbucks' are virtually everywhere, whereas Dunkin' Donuts (DNKN) is not, at least in my experience. And now with the company focusing more on Teavana, I'm sure Starbucks will get more of my dollars. --Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York. Follow @LKulikowski
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