Will Krispy Kreme Still Be Sweet to Investors?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Krispy Kreme (KKD) created some excitement Wednesday, following the after-market release of fourth quarter earnings. Shares were up as much as about 10% in after-hours trading. And on Thursday, shares were up 1.16% to close at $20.11. While I was pleased with that reaction, it was nonetheless a bit puzzling.

Revenue of $112.8 million was short of the $119.6 million consensus estimate, while adjusted earnings per share came up a penny short at 12 cents. While those numbers are far from horrendous, Krispy Kreme's return to the investment mainstream following its near implosion a decade ago has brought with it a great deal of scrutiny and increased expectations. Plus investors have a hair trigger when results have fallen short.

I would have expected an earnings miss, however small, to send shares lower. That didn't happen. Perhaps it was due to confusion over the earnings number itself. The company reported a bottom line of 21 cents per share, but that included tax credits, and was not what the consensus was based upon. Or, it could have been due to a combination of other factors, including increased company earnings guidance for fiscal 2015 (from the 71 to 76 cent range to the 73 to 79 cent range) and a $30 million increase in Krispy Kreme's buyback program, now up to $80 million. It is difficult to know for sure, but this is part of what continues to make the markets so fascinating.

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