Zacks Investment Research Lowers Brinker International (EAT) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report released on Thursday morning, Zacks.com reports.

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.”

Several other equities analysts have also recently weighed in on EAT. ValuEngine cut Brinker International from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Tuesday, January 15th. Maxim Group reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $58.00 price objective (up from $55.00) on shares of Brinker International in a report on Wednesday, January 23rd. Telsey Advisory Group reaffirmed a market perform rating and issued a $53.00 price objective (up from $49.00) on shares of Brinker International in a report on Wednesday, January 9th. Raymond James raised Brinker International from a market perform rating to an outperform rating in a report on Tuesday, January 8th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus raised Brinker International from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Monday, January 7th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Brinker International has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $46.40.

Shares of NYSE EAT opened at $42.75 on Thursday. The firm has a market capitalization of $1.60 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.78, a P/E/G ratio of 1.25 and a beta of 0.14. Brinker International has a fifty-two week low of $39.22 and a fifty-two week high of $54.14.

Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, January 29th. The restaurant operator reported $0.89 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.89. The firm had revenue of $790.70 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $779.19 million. Brinker International had a negative return on equity of 20.64% and a net margin of 4.70%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 3.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.87 EPS. Equities research analysts anticipate that Brinker International will post 3.86 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, March 28th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 8th were issued a dividend of $0.38 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, March 7th. This represents a $1.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.56%. Brinker International’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 43.43%.

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

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Enlightenment Research LLC bought a new stake in Brinker International during the 4th quarter worth $31,000. Clarus Wealth Advisors bought a new stake in Brinker International during the 4th quarter worth $36,000. First Hawaiian Bank grew its position in Brinker International by 164.2% during the 4th quarter. First Hawaiian Bank now owns 1,770 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $78,000 after acquiring an additional 1,100 shares during the last quarter. Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. bought a new stake in Brinker International during the 4th quarter worth $97,000. Finally, Nordea Investment Management AB bought a new stake in Brinker International during the 4th quarter worth $147,000.

Brinker International Company Profile

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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