No. 3: Hershey
Q2 Return: +17.5%
YTD Return: +16.5%
Investor: Jon Markman
And halfway through the year, the bronze medalist is none other than dessert darling Hershey (NYSE:HSY). After being near the bottom and in the red after a volatile Q1, the company is looking delicious — and not just for its Kit Kat bars.
With first-quarter earnings crushing analyst expectations and coming in 32% higher than last year’s figures, investors have been all over the stock, and Jon Markman’s early-year confidence about the company’s prospects is making a lot of sense. In fact, Hershey is the only company boasting positive returns in Q2.
The company remains the leader in the North American chocolate market with 43% of sales and has its hand in more than just the candy jar — the company’s food service division products include co-branded products like Dairy Queen Blizzard desserts, Rich’s cookie dough made with Reese’s peanut butter and Betty Crocker Ultimate Fudge brownies made with Hershey’s fudge, on top of the many popular brands usually associated with the company.
HSY shares reached a new all-time high last month, despite weakness elsewhere in the markets, and has been trading at around 19 times next year’s earnings expectations. At this rate, Hershey could be headed for this contest’s crown by year’s end.