Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Brinker International, Inc. (EAT) to Sell

Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE:EAT) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Brinker’s shares have underperformed the industry year to date. Notably, the company’s revenues missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in eight of the trailing ten quarters, mainly due to traffic decline at its restaurants. The company’s presence in energy-exposed markets, where the economy is currently sluggish due to the persistent decline in oil prices, may continue to hurt traffic. Nevertheless, the company’s aggressive expansion strategies, sales building initiatives should boost comps. Also, various operational, remodeling and digital initiatives are expected to drive growth. Yet, higher labor and costs related to initiatives might continue to hurt margins in the near term. Additionally, a slowdown in some of the international markets that the company operates in and overall choppiness in the restaurant space might also keep on pressurizing comps in the coming quarters.”

Several other research analysts have also recently issued reports on the stock. J P Morgan Chase & Co cut shares of Brinker International from an “overweight” rating to a “neutral” rating and cut their target price for the stock from $48.00 to $44.00 in a report on Thursday, June 15th. ValuEngine cut shares of Brinker International from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, September 1st. BMO Capital Markets upgraded shares of Brinker International from an “underperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $40.00 target price on the stock in a report on Thursday, June 22nd. Maxim Group restated a “buy” rating and issued a $54.00 target price on shares of Brinker International in a report on Thursday, June 15th. Finally, Raymond James Financial, Inc. restated a “market perform” rating on shares of Brinker International in a report on Monday, July 24th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have issued a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $42.00.

Shares of Brinker International (EAT) opened at 31.74 on Tuesday. The company has a market capitalization of $1.54 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 10.80 and a beta of 0.26. Brinker International has a 12-month low of $29.50 and a 12-month high of $55.84. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $31.80 and its 200-day moving average is $37.67.

Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, August 10th. The restaurant operator reported $1.09 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.04 by $0.05. Brinker International had a net margin of 4.79% and a negative return on equity of 31.46%. The firm had revenue of $810.66 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $809.94 million. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $1.24 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was down 8.1% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts predict that Brinker International will post $3.23 EPS for the current year.

Brinker International announced that its board has authorized a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, August 10th that authorizes the company to repurchase $250.00 million in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the restaurant operator to buy up to 14.6% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

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In related news, Director Michael A. George purchased 16,450 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, September 6th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $30.31 per share, for a total transaction of $498,599.50. Following the completion of the acquisition, the director now directly owns 49,952 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,514,045.12. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Insiders own 1.91% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. lifted its position in Brinker International by 14.7% during the first quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 41,808 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $1,838,000 after buying an additional 5,350 shares during the period. Victory Capital Management Inc. lifted its position in Brinker International by 69.3% during the first quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 13,598 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $598,000 after buying an additional 5,566 shares during the period. Arizona State Retirement System lifted its position in Brinker International by 6.0% during the first quarter. Arizona State Retirement System now owns 20,300 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $892,000 after buying an additional 1,145 shares during the period. Asset Management One Co. Ltd. purchased a new position in Brinker International during the first quarter valued at $2,562,000. Finally, OppenheimerFunds Inc. lifted its position in Brinker International by 1.2% during the first quarter. OppenheimerFunds Inc. now owns 517,828 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $22,764,000 after buying an additional 6,259 shares during the period.

Brinker International Company Profile

Brinker International, Inc is engaged in the ownership, operation, development, and franchising of the Chili’s Grill & Bar (Chili’s) and Maggiano’s Little Italy (Maggiano’s) restaurant brands. The Company’s Chili’s operates Bar & Grill category of casual dining. Chili’s menu features authentic Fresh Mex and Fresh Tex cuisine, including signature items, such as Baby Back Ribs smoked in-house, Hand-Crafted Burgers served with house-made garlic dill pickles, Mix and Match Fajitas, Tableside Guacamole and house-made Chips and Salsa.

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