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Starbucks Slips as Outlook Tepid, Earnings in Line

Starbucksposted a profit that matched forecasts Wednesday, though the company edged Wall Street's sales expectations. However, the firm's outlook disappointed analysts, sending shares lower in after-hours trading.

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The coffeehouse chain reported fiscal second quarter earnings of 34 cents a share. Starbucks earned 29 cents a share during the same period a year earlier.

Sales for the most recent quarter rose to $2.79 billion, up from $2.54 billion last year.

The company was seen earning 34 cents a share on revenue of $2.73 billion, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Shares of Starbucks slipped in extended trading Wednesday. Get after-hour quotes for Starbucks here.

In addition, Starbucks said it expects to generate a profit of between $1.46 and $1.48 a share in its fiscal full-year, excluding one-time items, lower than $1.50 a share that 26 analysts who follow the company had expected, according to Thomson Reuters.

The shares closed at $37.19 in the regular New York Stock Exchange session. Volume exceeded 8.6 million shares before the closing bell.

"The underlying health of our business has never been better and our fiscal second quarter results continue to demonstrate this strength," said CFO Troy Alstead in a prepared statement. "Customer traffic grew in both our U.S. and International segments and we continue to see improved profitability throughout the retail store business as operational improvements combined with revenue growth drive strong sales leverage."

"Our results for the quarter were even more significant when viewed in the context of the investments we made during the period and the charges related to Seattle's Best Coffee store closures in Borders bookstores," continued Alstead. "We remain well positioned to deliver on our previously communicated fiscal 2011 outlook of 15 percent to 20 percent EPS growth compared to last year's results despite dramatically higher commodity costs."

Starbucks has been rolling out price increases to various markets since last year to offset a surge in coffee costs. Track coffee futures here.

And last month, Starbucks ended a long-time grocery distribution deal with Kraft Foods and investors are standing by to see how much the company will have to pay Kraft as a result of that decision.

Shortly after ending the Kraft deal, the coffeechain also raised the price of packaged coffee sold in grocery stores by an average of 12 percent.