Brinker International (EAT) Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report released on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Brinker’s aggressive expansion strategies and sales building initiatives like streamlining of menu and innovation value offerings along with its loyalty program should boost comps. Increased focus on company-owned restaurants, which allows it to have full control over operations, is also expected to boost the bottom as well as the top line. Also, various operational, remodeling and digital initiatives are likely to drive growth. The company’s shares outperformed the industry in the past six months. Meanwhile, estimates for 2018 have gone up over the last 60 days. However, the company’s revenues missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in 10 of the trailing 12 quarters, mainly due to traffic decline at its restaurants. Further, higher labor as well as costs related to various initiatives might hurt margins, while overall choppiness in the restaurant space might keep on pressurizing comps in the upcoming quarters.”

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Several other research firms have also recently commented on EAT. Telsey Advisory Group reissued a market perform rating and set a $39.00 target price (up from $37.00) on shares of Brinker International in a research note on Wednesday, January 31st. BMO Capital Markets reissued a hold rating on shares of Brinker International in a research note on Wednesday, January 31st. Barclays boosted their target price on Brinker International from $41.00 to $42.00 and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 24th. Royal Bank of Canada reissued a hold rating and set a $39.00 target price on shares of Brinker International in a research note on Wednesday, January 24th. Finally, Canaccord Genuity reissued a hold rating and set a $40.00 target price on shares of Brinker International in a research note on Thursday, December 21st. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have given a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $41.25.

Shares of NYSE EAT opened at $39.83 on Wednesday. Brinker International has a twelve month low of $29.50 and a twelve month high of $45.81. The company has a quick ratio of 0.38, a current ratio of 0.43 and a debt-to-equity ratio of -2.47. The firm has a market capitalization of $1,846.00, a PE ratio of 12.00, a PEG ratio of 1.07 and a beta of 0.06.

Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, January 30th. The restaurant operator reported $0.87 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.72 by $0.15. Brinker International had a negative return on equity of 30.98% and a net margin of 4.10%. The business had revenue of $766.40 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $773.84 million. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.71 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was down .6% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts anticipate that Brinker International will post 3.43 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, March 29th. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 9th were issued a dividend of $0.38 per share. This represents a $1.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.82%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, March 8th. Brinker International’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 47.50%.

In other Brinker International news, VP Michaela M. Ware sold 830 shares of Brinker International stock in a transaction dated Thursday, February 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $34.08, for a total transaction of $28,286.40. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 8,181 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $278,808.48. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. 1.91% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Victory Capital Management Inc. lifted its holdings in Brinker International by 6.5% during the 4th quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 24,341 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $945,000 after buying an additional 1,476 shares during the last quarter. Edmp Inc. lifted its holdings in Brinker International by 16.8% during the 4th quarter. Edmp Inc. now owns 11,155 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $424,000 after buying an additional 1,605 shares during the last quarter. Creative Planning lifted its holdings in Brinker International by 25.1% during the 4th quarter. Creative Planning now owns 8,750 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $340,000 after buying an additional 1,755 shares during the last quarter. Caxton Associates LP lifted its holdings in Brinker International by 14.7% during the 4th quarter. Caxton Associates LP now owns 15,026 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $584,000 after buying an additional 1,926 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. lifted its holdings in Brinker International by 28.4% during the 3rd quarter. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. now owns 8,994 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $286,000 after buying an additional 1,988 shares during the last quarter.

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About Brinker International

Brinker International, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, owns, develops, operates, and franchises casual dining restaurants worldwide. As of June 28, 2017, it owned, operated, or franchised 1,674 restaurants comprising 1,622 restaurants under the Chili's Grill & Bar brand name; and 52 restaurants under the Maggiano's Little Italy brand name.

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