Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Brinker International (EAT) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Friday, 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 in the third quarter of fiscal 2019. Its 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 started to pay off. Increased focus on company-owned restaurants, which allows the company 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.”

EAT has been the topic of a number of other reports. Raymond James upgraded shares of Brinker International from a market perform rating to an outperform rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 8th. Telsey Advisory Group restated a market perform rating and set a $53.00 price target on shares of Brinker International in a research note on Wednesday, January 30th. Maxim Group restated a buy rating and set a $58.00 price target (up from $55.00) on shares of Brinker International in a research note on Wednesday, January 23rd. UBS Group assumed coverage on shares of Brinker International in a research note on Friday, April 26th. They set a sell rating and a $39.00 price target on the stock. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus upgraded shares of Brinker International from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Monday, January 7th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $45.69.

Shares of EAT stock opened at $43.72 on Friday. The company has a market cap of $1.63 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.49, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.22 and a beta of 0.11. Brinker International has a 12 month low of $40.29 and a 12 month high of $54.14.

Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, April 30th. The restaurant operator reported $1.26 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.20 by $0.06. The company had revenue of $839.30 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $831.16 million. Brinker International had a net margin of 4.75% and a negative return on equity of 19.10%. Brinker International’s revenue was up 3.3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $1.08 EPS. As a group, research analysts predict that Brinker International will post 3.92 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 27th. Investors of record on Friday, June 7th will be issued a dividend of $0.38 per share. This represents a $1.52 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.48%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, June 6th. Brinker International’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 43.43%.

In other news, SVP Charles A. Lousignont bought 2,590 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, February 6th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $43.00 per share, with a total value of $111,370.00. Following the acquisition, the senior vice president now owns 14,836 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $637,948. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 2.72% of the company’s stock.

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

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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