Starbucks (SBUX) Encourages Political Cooperation With Free Coffee

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Starbucks  (SBUX) made a pointed gesture to Congress in its latest promotion to offer customers a free coffee when they buy a drink for a fellow customer. In a memo to employees, CEO and Chairman Howard Schultz said the pay-it-forward promotion was an effort to stop the "seemingly unending cycle of dysfunction and doubt."

"This is a different yet authentic way Starbucks can help our fellow citizens to Come Together by supporting one another during a particularly challenging time," he wrote.

Schultz has weighed in on the U.S. government shutdown, now in its ninth day, and the impending debt ceiling deadline. He has called the "irresponsibility" disappointing. In a letter to the business community on Monday, Schultz encouraged chief executives to wield their influence to end the political deadlock.

"Consider what your companies and organizations can do to help shift the norms of our country back toward civility, compromise and problem-solving," he said. "We can remind the Congress and the President of their duty to put citizenship over partisanship for the sake of our country."

Starbucks shares were 0.76% lower at $74.96 on Wednesday. The S&P 500 was down 0.12%.

Starbucks' promotion begins Wednesday and runs through Friday.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Starbucks Corp as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about its recommendation:

"We rate STARBUCKS CORP (SBUX) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, good cash flow from operations and impressive record of earnings per share growth. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value."

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