WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. (TheStreet) -- Starbucks (SBUX) - Get Report did not run up the score on its earnings when it reported this week, but the company registered good results and a forecast that had traders whistling. One variable is still strapped to their backs, though: commodity costs. By the company's own admission on its conference call, commodity costs have been "stubbornly" high.
We're not talking merely cake pop raw material costs here, but coffee beans and milk, considerable expenses capable of wild swings. That is why it is curious--and somewhat pathetic--that many media outlets failed to mention the impact commodity costs might have (good or bad) going forward.
Forbes, for example, ran a headline: "Starbucks Earnings Guidance Creates a Bullish Buzz." True, but even Starbucks mentioned their frustration with commodity costs. Shouldn't that have been mentioned somewhere in the article? It wasn't.
Reuters, too, fell short. Their article, "Starbucks raises outlook, pins hopes on affluent," also neglected to mention that Starbucks is also pinning hopes on commodity costs behaving.
Barron's got it. Their article pinpointed the issue at the start, with a headline that read: "SBUX results jump: commodity costs to weigh in 2012." Remember: commodity costs might lighten, adding to margins. But if they take a turn for the worse, watch out. Either way, they probably won't float in stillwater, so traders should be on the lookout. Too bad the media was not.
At the time of publication, Fuchs had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this column.
Marek Fuchs was a stockbroker for Shearson Lehman Brothers and a money manager before becoming a journalist who wrote The New York Times' "County Lines" column for six years. He also did back-up beat coverage of The New York Knicks for the paper's Sports section for two seasons and covered other professional and collegiate sports. He has contributed frequently to many of the Times' other sections, including National, Metro, Escapes, Style, Real Estate, Arts & Leisure, Travel, Money & Business, Circuits and the Op-Ed Page. For his "Business Press Maven� column on how business and finance are covered by the media, Fuchs was named best business journalist critic in the nation by the Talking Biz website at The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Fuchs is a frequent speaker on the business media, in venues ranging from National Public Radio to the annual conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. Fuchs appreciates your feedback;
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