Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) Upgraded to Strong-Buy at Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating in a report published on Thursday, Zacks.com reports. The brokerage currently has $39.00 price objective on the restaurant operator’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Brinker have outperformed the industry in the past three months. The company reported fourth-quarter fiscal 2020 results, wherein earnings and revenues surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Although, the metrics declined on a year-over-year basis, the company remains steadfast in its goal to drive traffic and revenues through a range of sales-building initiatives such as streamlining of menu and its innovation, strengthening its value proposition, better food presentation, advertising campaigns, kitchen system optimization and introduction of a better service platform. Also, increased focus on expansion and digital initiatives bode well. Notably, earnings estimates for 2021 have increased over the past seven days. However, the company’s high debt level and weak sales trend at Maggiano’s remain concerns.”

Other analysts also recently issued research reports about the company. BMO Capital Markets upped their price target on Brinker International from $20.00 to $38.00 and gave the stock a market perform rating in a research note on Thursday, August 13th. Piper Sandler restated an overweight rating and issued a $32.00 price target (up previously from $29.00) on shares of Brinker International in a research note on Friday, May 22nd. Telsey Advisory Group upped their price target on Brinker International from $36.00 to $42.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a research note on Tuesday. Royal Bank of Canada upped their price target on Brinker International from $25.00 to $36.00 and gave the stock a sector perform rating in a research note on Thursday, August 13th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, OTR Global downgraded Brinker International to a positive rating in a research note on Monday, April 27th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating, sixteen have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $38.00.

Shares of EAT stock traded up $0.62 during midday trading on Thursday, reaching $38.87. 47,028 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 2,510,331. Brinker International has a 1 year low of $7.00 and a 1 year high of $47.57. The company’s 50 day moving average is $26.86 and its two-hundred day moving average is $25.40. The firm has a market cap of $1.69 billion, a PE ratio of 20.65, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.71 and a beta of 2.22.

Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, August 12th. The restaurant operator reported ($0.88) earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of ($1.47) by $0.59. Brinker International had a negative return on equity of 12.07% and a net margin of 0.80%. As a group, research analysts forecast that Brinker International will post 1.94 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, SVP Wade Allen sold 2,300 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, August 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $36.94, for a total value of $84,962.00. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 8,582 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $317,019.08. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, VP Michaela M. Ware sold 2,494 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $36.83, for a total value of $91,854.02. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 12,478 shares in the company, valued at $459,564.74. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 24,173 shares of company stock worth $852,049 over the last three months. Insiders own 3.51% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Charles Schwab Investment Management Inc. raised its holdings in Brinker International by 6.2% in the 2nd quarter. Charles Schwab Investment Management Inc. now owns 618,954 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $14,855,000 after purchasing an additional 35,940 shares during the period. AQR Capital Management LLC raised its holdings in Brinker International by 179.3% in the 2nd quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 2,246,624 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $53,919,000 after purchasing an additional 1,442,160 shares during the period. California State Teachers Retirement System raised its holdings in Brinker International by 17.0% in the 2nd quarter. California State Teachers Retirement System now owns 66,031 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $1,585,000 after purchasing an additional 9,582 shares during the period. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can increased its stake in Brinker International by 150.2% in the 2nd quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can now owns 55,232 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $1,325,000 after buying an additional 33,161 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Jacobs Levy Equity Management Inc. increased its stake in Brinker International by 4.0% in the 2nd quarter. Jacobs Levy Equity Management Inc. now owns 194,024 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $4,657,000 after buying an additional 7,545 shares in the last quarter. 79.27% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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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