Why Dunkin’ Brands Stock Is Crushing Starbucks

Like the coffee it serves, Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. (DNKN) is hot, having risen more than 60% while its rival Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) is getting downright cold with a decline of nearly 10% over the past two years. But despite technical indicators suggesting Dunkin’ may be overbought and could start to cool, asset allocation advisor Chantico Global's CEO Gina Sanchez told CNBC’s Trading Nation on Tuesday that, “Dunkin’, even though it has run a long way, fundamentally still has the wind in its back.”

 Stock  1-year Performance  YTD Performance
 Dunkin'  + 35.6%  +10.4%
 Starbucks  - 11.2%  - 10.4%

Dunkin’ Doing It Right

Dunkin’s success in the past few years has come from a number of different places. First, the company has been impressing investors with better-than-expected earnings, delivering earnings beats in six of the last seven trailing quarters. It has also built itself an established and trusted brand, helping it to more easily push new products. Dunkin’ continues to add new coffee beverages to its menu, like the recent Cold Brew coffee, which has been the company’s most successful product launch on an incremental sales basis. (To read more, see: 9 High-Octane Stocks Poised to Rise Higher.)

The impressive gains in the company’s stock, however, may be tempered by the results of Thursday’s earnings report. Despite beating consensus earnings estimates by 3 cents a share, coming in at 77 cents a share, the company lowered its annual guidance for the year. Rather than the previous range of $2.69 to $2.74 a share, the company now expects to earn somewhere between $2.68 and $2.72 a share over the next year.

A Falling Starbucks

Starbucks, on the other hand, after a strong run appears to be hitting a more mature stage in its growth cycle and have reached some market-penetration limits. Sanchez explains, “The last two years have really been a sign of just far too much market penetration and now you’re talking about having to close a series of unproductive stores.” Starbucks recently announced that it would be closing 150 underperforming stores in 2019. The coffee chain is also still feeling the heat after two African-American men were arrested for trespassing after asking to use the restroom in one of the company’s Philadelphia stores back in April. (To read more, see: Starbucks to Close 150 Underperforming Stores.)

Despite the setbacks, Starbucks beat analyst earnings estimates by one cent per share, with earnings of 62 cents per share for the quarter being reported after market close on Thursday afternoon. Starbucks has been working hard to strengthen its loyalty platform program and CEO Kevin Johnson noted, “We remain confident in our global growth strategies,” according to CNBC. However, the company did lower its outlook for the next year. The lowered guidance mixed with the earnings beat could simply mean the company’s stock will continue its somewhat sideways march, at least in the near term. (For related reading, see "Starbucks vs. Dunkin': What's the Difference?")

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