America loves fast food, soda and booze

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NEW YORK — It’s only fitting that companies which sell burgers, fried chicken and soda are hitting records just before Memorial Day — the unofficial start to summer and outdoor picnics. (Too bad it’s too cold in New York to hit the beach or pool just yet!)

The entire stock market is booming. But stodgy consumer staples companies in the food and beverage business are doing particularly well.

Most of the companies have steady sales and earnings growth. Many of them pay reliable dividends too. And who doesn’t like a good burger? We know that President Trump is a fast food fan.

Like Quarter Pounders with Cheese? (Royale with Cheese for any Pulp Fiction fans out there.) McDonald’s is at an all-time high.

Whoppers more your style? Burger King parent Restaurant Brands hit a new record Friday too. The company also owns Tim Hortons and recently bought Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.

Speaking of everyone’s favorite edible bird (sorry vegetarians) KFC owner Yum! Brands is also at an all-time high. So is its new spinoff Yum China. Both companies also operate the Taco Bell and Pizza Hut chains too.

Need a tasty beverage to wash down that burger, fried chicken or tacos?

Pepsi hit a new all-time high on Friday too. So did smaller carbonated beverage company National Beverage, which makes Shasta and LaCroix seltzer. Coca-Cola stock is up 10% this year as well and is not far from a record.

Looking for a beverage with a little more oomph? Shares of Bud owner Anheuser-Busch InBev are up 12% this year. Corona parent Constellation Brands has surged nearly 20%. And Jack Daniels’ maker Brown-Forman is up 15%.

There’s even been chatter that Constellation Brands wants to buy Brown-Forman, but that a deal doesn’t seem to be close just now.

And if you overindulge during the Memorial Day festivities? There are stocks for that too. Nutrisystem is up more than 40% this year while its rival Weight Watchers, which is backed by Oprah Winfrey, has more than doubled.

Happy long weekend!

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