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Hershey shares hit a new high

The Associated Press

Hershey Co. shares hits an all-time high Friday as investor enthusiasm built ahead of its quarterly earnings report.

THE SPARK: Hershey shares have been climbing steadily for a while and picked up steam ahead of the company's first-quarter earnings report, scheduled for next week.

THE BIG PICTURE: Hershey struggled in previous years with the pressure from high costs for commodities like milk and sugar. Those costs are moderating and the company is getting ready to launch some new products.

THE ANALYSIS: Citi analyst David Driscoll said Hershey appears to be positioned for a robust year, driven by declining costs, strong product innovation and rising sales. He also thinks the company's earnings forecast may be conservative, and he kept a "Buy" rating on the stock.

SHARE ACTION: Up 89 cents to $90.36 in afternoon trading. The stock rose to $90.70 earlier in the session, a new high. Hershey shares are up about 44 percent in the past year.