Starbucks Competes for Market's Mellow Middle

Starbucks (SBUX) surprised both Wall Street analysts and skeptics like me Wednesday, by releasing first fiscal quarter 2010 results that were better than expected. Led by a 4% comparable-store sales growth, the company recorded 4% higher revenues of $2.72 billion. Earnings came it at $241.5 million, or 32 cents per share, topping expectations of 27 cents per share. Last year's first fiscal quarter earnings were only nine cents per share, before charges on store closings.