Sunday's winner: wings, beer and pizza

Shares of beer, wings and pizza companies rally for the win ahead of the Super Bowl

Associated Press

Football fans may be placing their bets on their favorite team, but investors are making a few Super Bowl-related bets themselves.

Shares of a number of pizza, chicken wing and beer makers rose Friday ahead of the big game, an annual festival of gluttony that is celebrated by fans and non-fans alike.

More than 1.23 billion portions of wings will be consumed during Super Bowl weekend, according to the National Chicken Council.

The restaurant chain Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. was upgraded Friday by KeyBanc Capital Markets. Analyst Christopher O'Cull gave the restaurant chain a "Buy" rating with an $85 price target, saying that the company's stock makes an attractive investment after a recent price drop. He said Buffalo Wild Wings said its stock trades at a significant discount compared to the rest of the casual dining sector, despite its above-average growth rate and significant growth potential.

Buffalo Wild Wing shares increased $2.56, more than 3 percent, to $76.11 by early afternoon. Its stock had fallen about 17 percent since October, when it issued a disappointing third-quarter earnings report.

And what better to wash down a dozen wings than with a frosty brew. Not many better ways, according to figures compiled by the Nielsen ratings company.

The volume of cases of beer scored in the two weeks before the big game soar to more than 49 million.

Despite what could be a huge legal setback on Thursday, shares of Anheuser-Busch InBev jumped in trading Friday.

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit Thursday to stop Anheuser-Busch InBev's proposed $20.1 billion purchase of Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo, which would unite the ownership of popular beers like Budweiser and Corona. The government said the deal could lead to higher beer prices in the U.S. because it would substantially reduce competition in the domestic beer market, particularly in 26 metropolitan areas. It said the merged firm would control nearly half the beer sales in the U.S. In response, Anheuser-Busch InBev promised a court fight to preserve its deal.

The company's shares increased $3.04, more than 3 percent, to $91.64, nearing the top of its 52-week trading range.

Investors were also craving pizza stocks.

Domino's Pizza Inc.'s shares increased $1.20, nearly 3 percent, to $47.77. And Papa John's International Inc.'s shares increased 42 cents to $456.52.

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