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3 Hot Consumer Plays, Fresh off the Grill

WEN, DPZ and KKD have been sizzling so far in 2013

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wendysSo far this year, as the S&P 500 has gained over 19%, restaurant stocks have been a mixed bag. The sector as a whole outperformed during the first half of the year, but many analyst subsequently suggested cutting back as a result of softening sales recently.

Chuy’s Holdings (CHUY), Bloomin Brands (BLMN) that runs Outback Steakhouse and Bonefish Grill and Del Frisco Restaurant Group (DFRG), for example, have each posted solid gains since their IPOs last summer … but two out of the three dining stocks are in the red year-to-date. Meanwhile, names from McDonald’s (MCD) to Red Lobster and Olive Garden operator Darden Restaurants (DRI) have climbed around half as much as the broader market.

Still, a few names have ignored analyst warnings and recent weakness in consumer and retail data, as their stocks continue to climb higher. The question that follows, though, is whether that upwards momentum just builds in further to fall.

Let’s take a closer look at three of the hottest food stocks so far in 2013 — and whether they’re looking fresh and tasty… or turning stale.

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