Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Prevent Skin Cancer with Caffeine: Coke or Pepsi Anyone?

Just in time for summer! According to a recent study in the Journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, the risk of getting basal cell carcinoma, a common form of skin cancer, can be reduced by drinking caffeinated drinks. This doesn't just mean coffee, it also includes tea and soft drinks such a Coca Cola (KO) and Pepsi (PEP). It even includes chocolate! You only need a couple caffeine servings per day.

This study involved research on 112,897 people. The highlights of the study showed, first, that coffee drinking and basal cell carcinoma risk are inversely associated, which means that the higher the coffee consumption, the lower the risk. Second, the most likely component of coffee that causes this effect is the caffeine. Those who avoid caffeine by drinking decaf should be aware that the study showed that the consumption of decaffeinated coffee showed no reduction in skin cancer, which seems to indicate that caffeine can block skin tumor formation. It isn't just skin cancer risk that caffeine can help prevent. Caffeine has also been  shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. According to Jiali Han, Ph.D., associate professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston and Harvard School of Public Health, "our results add basal cell carcinoma to a list of conditions for which risk is decreased with increasing coffee consumption."

So how can an investor participate in the consumption of coffee? There are several ways, according to the free list of coffee stocks at First, there are the coffee houses, Starbucks (SBUX) and Peets (PEET). Starbucks is the largest coffeehouse retailer in the world, with outlets in 50 countries and over 17,000 shops worldwide. The stock trades at 23 times forward earnings and pays a yield of 1.3%. Earnings for the latest quarter were up 18.5% on an 14.7% increase in revenues.

Peet's Coffee and Tea is a specialty coffee roaster, marketer, and retailer founded in 1966 in Berkeley, California. The stock trades at 25 times forward earnings. Revenues for the latest quarter were up 7.1%, but earnings dropped by about 38.6%. The company does not pay a dividend.

A major wholesaler of coffee is Coffee Holding Co. (JVA), which also markets private label coffee and branded coffee in the US and Canada. The company has 90 varieties of raw green coffee beans which it imports from around the world and sold to large and small operators.

Another source of caffeine is tea. Teavana Holdings (TEA), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, operates as a specialty retailer of loose-leaf teas, tea wares, and other tea-related merchandise in North America. The stock has a forward price to earnings ratio of 19, with earning rising 5.4% for the latest quarter on a 26.8% boost in earnings.

But it is not just coffee and tea where you can get your caffeine fix, there are also the soft drinks, also known as soda and pop depending on what part of the country you live in.  Coca Cola distributes numerous types of soft drinks in over 200 countries, and is most known for its Coke product. Coca Cola Classic contains 100.05 milligrams of caffeine per liter. The company sells many other caffeinated drinks such as Nestea and the energy drink Full Throttle. The stock trades at 18 times forward earnings, and will be having their earnings announcement on July 17. The stock is set to have a 2 for 1 stock split on August 12. The stock pays a dividend rate of 2.6%.

PepsiCo, a large food and beverage conglomerate, is probably Coke's biggest competitor. The company's leading caffeinated soft drink, Pepsi, has 104 milligrams per liter of caffeine. It also sells Mountain Dew with 154 mg/L and Mountain Dew MDX which has a supercharged 198.6 mg/L. It even markets Adrenaline Rush. The stock has a forward P/E ratio of 16 and a yield of 3.0%. Earnings will be announced July 25.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) produces Dr Pepper, which contains 187 mg/L. The stock has a forward P/E of 14 and pays a decent yield of 3.1%.

Most of the energy drinks are made by private companies; however, Monster, is made by Monster Beverage Corporation (MNST), which trades on NASDAQ. Monster contains over 316 mg/L. The stock trades at 30 times earnings.

Don't forget chocolate. The Hershey Company (HSY) has its Special Dark Chocolate Bar with 31 milligrams of caffeine per serving and its Special Milk Chocolate Bar with 10 milligrams of caffeine. Hershey trades at 21 times forward earnings and yields 2.1%.

For a free list of coffee caffeine companies and chocolate stocks, which you can download, sort, and update, go to

Disclaimer: Author owns KO and PEP.


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