Brinker International (EAT) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Buy”

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report published on Tuesday, Zacks.com reports. Zacks Investment Research currently has $47.00 target price on the restaurant operator’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Although shares of Brinker have underperformed the industry in a year’s time, we are encouraged by the company's robust top- and bottom-line growth. The company’s traffic-building strategies and efforts to capture increased market share boosted the performance.  Brinker’s strong To-Go business continues to drive the performance. Meanwhile, Chili’s turnaround strategy has started to pay off. Increased focus on company-owned restaurants, which allows it to have full control over operations, is also expected to boost results. However, high costs associated with restaurant operations might hurt its profitability in the future. Further, dismal performance of international franchise comparable sales at Chili's restaurants is a major concern. The company is plagued with intense competition characterizing the industry. Estimates for current quarter and year have been stable over the past 60 days.”

EAT has been the topic of a number of other reports. Raymond James raised Brinker International from a market perform rating to an outperform rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 8th. Telsey Advisory Group reissued a market perform rating and issued a $53.00 price target on shares of Brinker International in a research note on Wednesday, January 30th. Maxim Group reissued a buy rating and issued a $58.00 price target (up from $55.00) on shares of Brinker International in a research note on Wednesday, January 23rd. Stifel Nicolaus raised Brinker International from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Monday, January 7th. Finally, ValuEngine raised Brinker International from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 9th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $46.40.

Shares of NYSE:EAT opened at $42.28 on Tuesday. Brinker International has a 12-month low of $38.72 and a 12-month high of $54.14. The stock has a market capitalization of $1.59 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.08, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.24 and a beta of 0.14.

Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, January 29th. The restaurant operator reported $0.89 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.89. Brinker International had a negative return on equity of 20.64% and a net margin of 4.70%. The firm had revenue of $790.70 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $779.19 million. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.87 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts predict that Brinker International will post 3.86 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, March 28th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 8th were paid a $0.38 dividend. This represents a $1.52 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.60%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, March 7th. Brinker International’s dividend payout ratio is currently 43.43%.

In related news, SVP Charles A. Lousignont purchased 2,590 shares of Brinker International stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, February 6th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $43.00 per share, with a total value of $111,370.00. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 14,836 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $637,948. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, EVP Kelly C. Baltes purchased 800 shares of Brinker International stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, January 30th. The shares were bought at an average cost of $41.75 per share, for a total transaction of $33,400.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 800 shares in the company, valued at approximately $33,400. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders own 2.72% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in EAT. Norges Bank acquired a new position in Brinker International during the 4th quarter worth approximately $28,030,000. Renaissance Technologies LLC lifted its position in Brinker International by 1,919.7% during the 3rd quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 513,000 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $23,972,000 after acquiring an additional 487,600 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its position in Brinker International by 8.0% during the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 4,909,754 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $229,433,000 after acquiring an additional 365,235 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc lifted its position in Brinker International by 8.0% during the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 4,909,754 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $229,433,000 after acquiring an additional 365,235 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG lifted its position in Brinker International by 120.3% during the 3rd quarter. Deutsche Bank AG now owns 624,185 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $29,163,000 after acquiring an additional 340,790 shares in the last quarter.

About Brinker International

Brinker International, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, owns, develops, operates, and franchises casual dining restaurants in the United States and internationally. As of June 27, 2018, it owned, operated, or franchised 1,686 restaurants comprising 997 company-owned restaurants and 689 franchised restaurants under the Chili's Grill & Bar and Maggiano's Little Italy brand names.

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Analyst Recommendations for Brinker International (NYSE:EAT)

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